One thing I often hear from potential clients is “I can't get insurance – I don't qualify due to a pre-existing condition.”  Or, considering our friends who are HIV-positive, the difficulty can be magnified ten-fold.  Medications are expensive and complications can easily send one to the hospital.

As an insurance broker, I have access to many health-related products beyond traditional health insurance. Today I would like talk about an alternative that packs some powerful benefits into an easy-to-access portfolio of services. It’s not insurance coverage; it’s an association membership.

The Alliance for Affordable Services is a member-based association providing variety and value to its members by offering access to  business, personal, and health savings*. The association is an easy thing for me to talk about, as I am a member. For the sake of this column, I will focus on the health-related benefits.

TeladocSM is an awesome service**.  Members can call an 800 number any day, any time and request a call-back from a doctor. I have never had to wait more than 15 minutes to get a response. From there, I simply describe my symptoms and the doctor calls in a prescription to my neighborhood pharmacy for me**. This certainly wouldn't work for a serious medical situation but for a sinus infection or rash, it can be a God-send. Each time I've used the service, I've had medications available to me within the hour.  It goes without saying how valuable the service is weekends or after hours. Not to mention the cost savings of not having to go to an Urgent Care facility or ER.

Which leads me to the next benefit. Should I travel to the ER in an ambulance, my association benefits will provide me a lump sum payment toward expenses incurred..  If I am lucky enough to ride to the hospital for a broken bone or dislocation, I will collect another lump sum of money.

In addition, for each eligible day I spend in the hospital for a qualifying accident or illness, I will earn a daily direct pay benefit. There are also direct-pay benefits for accidents, heart attack and more.

A term life-insurance benefit of $5,000 to $25,000† is included in the cost of membership up to age 65. Payouts vary by level of membership. Other options will provide discounts on medications, chiropractics, dental care, and diabetic care.

Members can also purchase a Hospital Advantage Card*** which offers pre-service negotiation and post-service bill mediation that can save you money on hospital bills. I love the Global Emergency Services benefit which provides members with medical assistance when traveling more than 100 miles from home.  The program includes a Compassionate Visit component that will provide economy, round-trip, common carrier transportation to the place of hospitalization for a designated family member or friend if a member is traveling alone and will be hospitalized for more than seven days.
In short, having medical problems that inhibit your ability to obtain traditional health insurance is not the end of the world. 

While I've only touched on the health benefits available through an association membership, there are many, many other benefits that can enhance your life.  For more information, feel free to contact me at (615) 594-1564 or

*Benefit availability dependent upon membership level, package option, and member’s state of residence, and is subject to change. Certain limitations, reductions, and exclusions may apply. The Alliance membership is not an insurance contract. Please refer to for details.

**Teladoc does not replace the primary care physician. Teladoc is not available in Oklahoma. Teladoc web-based video consultations are not available in Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas. Teladoc does not guarantee that a prescription will be written, and operates subject to state regulations. Teladoc does not prescribe DEA controlled substances. Teladoc physicians reserve the right to deny care for potential misuse of services. Teladoc, Inc. ©2002 - 2010.

†Like most group life insurance policies, MetLife group policies contain certain exclusions, limitations, terms and conditions for keeping them in force. Please contact Alliance for Affordable Services Member Services for complete details or to obtain a copy of the policy. Coverage is provided through a group life insurance policy issued by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, N.Y. (MetLife) to the Alliance for Affordable Services, Group Policy (Form GPNP99-ASSN) sitused in the District of Columbia, with certificates of insurance (Form GCERT2000) issued to each insured Member. Life insurance coverage of members in other states will be subject to any applicable legal requirements of such states. Not available in WA.

***THIS IS NOT INSURANCE or a Discount Medical Plan. Savings are not guaranteed and not all Hospitals or Providers will negotiate discounts. Fees must be negotiated and payment arrangements must be paid in advance to the Negotiation Service. Not available in California, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia or where prohibited by law.


Photo courtesy of Red Bull

Red Bull Unlocked Nashville

Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

Rumble Boxing Gulch, Nashville

Keep reading Show less

Post-Covid travel planning

Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?

For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

Keep reading Show less