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Solo/Small Firm Help Line: 877-621-7676 Toll Free Help Line: 800-621-8981

Frequently Asked Questions

General

  1. Can premium payments be made by credit card?

    No, we currently do not accept credit cards. We do accept payments made through a checking or savings account over the phone. Please call 800-621-8981

  2. How do I get a claim form?

    Click here to access the online claim forms. If you'd prefer we mail you a claim form, all we need from you is your name, address, and certificate ID number. You can email, fax or mail this information to the ABE. Once the request is received, the claim form will be mailed to you.

  3. Where should I send my completed claim form?

    The return address is located at the top left-hand corner of the claim form. In addition, a return envelope will be sent to you with the claim form.

  4. How do I cancel some or all of my coverage under a plan?

    To cancel some or all of the coverage from a plan, please submit a letter ro email to ABE stating what you would like to cancel on your plan. Generally these requests are processed to be effective the first of the month following receipt of the request.

  5. Can I pay my premiums with an automatic bank draft (ACH debits)?

    Yes, we can send you the authorization form to have your premiums withdrawn from a United States checking or savings account. We withdraw funds on the first business day of every month. To begin the automatic draft process, we need your first month's premium (if due), the authorization form, and a voided check.

    If you are currently enrolled in the ABE Automatic Payment Plan and have a new bank account that youwould like to have your monthly debits taken from simply fax a copy of a voided check (or bank letter) from the new account to 312-988-6401 or mail the voided check (or bank letter) to 321 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654-7648 with a note specifying the plan(s) which should be paid from the new account.

  6. If my insurance lapsed, can I be reinstated?

    If your coverage lapsed recently (last renewal not paid), you can be reinstated if you can and do sign a health statement within 45 days of the lapse date attesting that your health has not changed since your insurance lapsed, and pay any premiums due. If coverage lapsed prior to the last renewal or more than 45 days have passed since the lapse date, a new application must be submitted for approval by the insurance company.

  7. How do I find out the names of the current beneficiary on my Term Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment certificates?

    For your protection, beneficiary information cannot be provided over the phone or via email. We can mail it to the insured member, unless that member is not the owner, in which case the information will be sent to the owner of the certificate in question.

  8. How do I list a contingent beneficiary on the change of beneficiary (COB) form?

    On the COB form, list the beneficiary's name and designate whether the individual is a primary or contingent beneficiary. If there are multiple primary or contingent beneficiaries, you should also designate the percentage of death benefits each is to receive.

  9. Is ABA membership required to obtain or keep ABE-sponsored insurance coverage?

    Yes, membership in the ABA is required and must be maintained to keep ABE-sponsored insurance coverage.

  10. How is ABE related to ABA?

    The ABE is a charitable affiliate of the ABA. Our membership consists of ABA members and all members of our Board of Directors must be ABA members.

  11. What types of insurance do you have available?

    We offer ABA members Long-Term, Mid-Term and Retirement Disability Income, Term Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Hospital Money, and Professional Overhead Expense. Additional insurance plans are available through our for-profit-subsidiary, American Bar Insurance Plan Consultants, Inc.

  12. How long are dependent children eligible for coverage?

    Children who are dependent upon the insured member for support can be covered under some of our plans up to the following ages:

    AD&D - unmarried, up to age 25.

    Hospital Money Plan - dependent children (including those that are married) up to age 26 (age 30 for residents of NY or those who have served in active
    or reserve Armed Forces and were honorably discharged).

    Life Plans - unmarried, up to age 25.

    EMM - unmarried, up to age 19 or to age 25 if a full-time student

  13. Why did I receive a final notice when I never received an initial premium due notice?

    Initial premium notices are generated and sent out approximately 30 days before the due date (see question #25). If we have not received your premium payment within ten days after it was due, then a final notice is generated and sent to you. If you do not receive your first or reminder notice, please contact the ABE immediately by email or calling toll-free at 1-800-621-8981.

  14. I haven't received my premium notice yet. Can you fax it?

    We can fax, mail or email you a premium notice; however, it will be generated overnight and then faxed, mailed or emailed the next morning.

  15. Do I need to fill out a new application and go through underwriting if I wish to increase my insurance?

    If you are increasing Term Life, Disability or Professional Overhead Expense Disability coverage you will be required to complete another application, which will be sent to the underwriter for processing. The Hospital Money and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Plans are guaranteed acceptance plans, but we do need a completed application to document your requested change. The Hospital Money Plan has a pre-existing conditions clause. New applications will not affect your existing benefits.

  16. Is there a grace period for my insurance plan payments?

    Yes, all plans have a 31-day grace period from the due date.

  17. What is the procedure for a change of address?

    We must have notice of a change of address in writing. The member can complete the back portion of a premium billing notice, send an email, or fax us a letter. If the member is only adding a company name or suite number to his/her address, this can be done by phone. All requests must have a date of birth and your certificate holder id number indicated.

  18. Why do address changes have to be in writing?

    It provides us with the appropriate documentation of your request and helps to ensure that the change is made accurately. In addition, it is for your security to verify that an authorized individual is requesting the change.

  19. How do I claim dividends/experience credits that may be available on my insurance coverage?

    A written request must be sent to ABE between January 1st and December 15th for EACH year you wish to receive any available dividends/experience credits. After receiving your request, we will send an acknowledgement confirming receipt of your request. You should retain this confirmation until you receive your dividend/experience credit check or a letter advising you that there is no dividend/experience credit for that year. If you don't receive a written acknowledgment from ABE, you should mail or fax us a copy of your original request (before December 15th) stating that you did not receive a confirmation of refund request.

  20. What happens to the available dividend/experience credits that are contributed to the Endowment?
    • When you donate your share of available dividend/experience credits to the Endowment (about 85% of members do), the Endowment distributes them as grants to the ABA's Fund for Justice & Education and the American Bar Foundation.
    • This grant money is then used to fund research, educational and public service projects in the field of law.
    • When you contribute your dividend/experience credits to the Endowment, you are eligible for a charitable deduction on your income tax return according to a March 1987 ruling by the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions to ABE are tax deductible under Section 170(c) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, in accordance with IRS regulations and the March 1987 ruling provided to ABE by the IRS.

  21. Where can I find an explanation of the process to request available dividend/experience credit refunds?

    This information is on the application and brochure you receive when applying for coverage and on our website. It is also on the folder that holds your Certificate of Insurance and is printed on every premium notice. If you have your premiums automatically withdrawn from your checking account, an annual notice is sent to you by mail. And finally, the November issue of the ABA Journal has the Endowment's annual report, which also describes the refund process, and gives details on the approximate dividends/experience credits available for each of the insurance plans.

  22. If I want to give my dividend/experience credit check back to the Endowment, how do I do this?

    Just send us your check with a letter stating that you are returning your dividend/experience credit refund. Please send the check and letter to ABE, 321 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654. You will receive a charitable contribution notice by return mail.

  23. Why don't you offer a basic health insurance plan?

    We do not offer a basic health insurance plan because it is not conducive to the generation of dividends/experience credits, which is an essential element of our plans. ABE is a charitable organization and the dividends/experience credits support ABE's charitable work. ABE could lose its tax-exempt status if it treated the insurance plans as a member benefit. There are basic health plans offered through ABE's for-profit-subsidiary American Bar Insurance Plans Consultants, Inc. You can call them at 800-445-3540, or email ABI at info@abiins.com

  24. Do you have dental coverage?

    There is a plan offered through ABE's for-profit subsidiary, American Bar Insurance Plan Consultants, Inc.

  25. Are domestic partners eligible to apply for ABE plans?

    Yes, all ABE-sponsored plans define a Domestic Partner as an eligible dependent. NOTE: If both you and your spouse/domestic partner are ABA members, you may both apply for member coverage, but if you do, neither of you may insure the other as a spouse, and only one of you may insure all of your dependent children.

  26. Can a spouse/domestic partner remain covered after a divorce?

    A spouse/domestic partner is not eligible to continue coverage after a divorce unless he/she is also an ABA member and applies for his/her own coverage.

  27. Based on my medical history, can you consider coverage for me under your medically underwritten insurance plans (Term Life, Long and Mid Term Disability, and Professional Overhead Expense)?

    ABE does not underwrite the applications we receive. The insurance company is responsible for this decision. The only way to find out if you will be approved for coverage is to complete an application. An underwriter at the insurance company will review it and make a determination concerning approval. If a member wishes to speak with an underwriter, we can assist you if you call or email us.

  28. How many premium notices do you send out for each billing period?

    We send out two premium notices; a first notice and a final notice if the premium has not been paid in full. The first notice is sent out approximately 30 days prior to the due date (the dates shown below) and the final notice is sent out approximately 10 days after the due dates (the dates shown below):

    Disability and Hospital Money Quarterly 2/1, 5/1, 8/1 and 11/1
    Semiannual 5/1 and 11/1
    Annual 11/1
    Accidental Death and Dismemberment Quarterly 2/1, 5/1, 8/1 and 11/1
    Semiannual 2/1 and 8/1
    Annual 8/1
    Professional Overhead Expense Quarterly 1/1, 4/1, 7/1 and 10/1
    Semiannual 1/1 and 7/1
    Annual 7/1
    Term Life

    Quarterly 3/1, 6/1, 9/1 and 12/1
    Semiannual 6/1 and 12/1
    Annual 6/1

  29. If coverage is cancelled, will a prorated refund of the unused premium be made?

    Yes, coverage is cancelled effective the first of the month and a prorated refund will be made of any unused premium.

  30. How long does it take to process a death claim?

    Death claim processing takes priority over our other work. As soon as all the necessary information is received by ABE (claim form, a copy of the death certificate, original certificate, if available, and additional information requested by the claims office), it is forwarded to New York Life Insurance Company for processing. It should then take seven working days for the proceeds to be paid.

  31. I received a NSF (non-sufficient funds) notice from my bank for a premium payment I made on my insurance; what should I do?

    Your check will be returned to you for replacement. If your check was returned after the grace period expires, to reinstate your lapsed coverage you will be required to sign a statement attesting that your health has not changed since coverage lapsed. Also, a $25 fee will be assessed for the returned check.

  32. Which insurance companies underwrite your insurance plans?

    The United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York, underwrites the Disability plan. New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010, underwrites the Term Life, Professional Overhead Expense, Accidental Death & Dismemberment and Hospital Money plans on policy form GMR.

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Term Life

  1. Do the benefits on the Term Life Insurance plan decrease when I get older?

    ABE currently sponsors three plans. The benefits for the 10 and 20 year level term plans do not decrease. The benefits on the 5-year age-banded plan decrease at specific ages as outlined in the group policy terms. If you are currently insured in an ABE-sponsored life plan, other than the 10 and 20 year level plans, see your Certificate of Insurance.

  2. Can the beneficiary for a spouse/domestic partner's Term Life benefit be someone other than the member?

    Yes. However, the owner must be the one to make that designation because only he/she has that right. If the member has not transferred ownership, he/she alone has the right to designate a beneficiary for spouse/domestic partner coverage.

  3. Please explain the difference between term life insurance policies G-2766-0, G-2766-1, G-2766-2, G-2766-3, G-29104-0 and G-29168-0.

    Some of the features are highlighted for each:
    (Full plan details are in each group policy, including features, costs, eligibility, renewability, limitations and exclusions.)

    G-2766-0

    • No longer available for new applicants or transfers.
    • Maximum benefit $240,000.
    • Termination age 72
    • Benefits reduce at age 55 and every five years thereafter - Plan A-H only.
    • Junior plan reduced every year beginning at age 26
    • Waiver of premium and AD&D benefits

    G-2766-1

    • No longer available for new applicants or transfers.
    • Termination age 72
    • Benefits reduce at every age beginning at age 40
    • Benefits depend on age when entering
    • Waiver of premium and AD&D benefits

    G-2766-2

    • No longer available to new applicants and transfers except to increase existing coverage or to add dependents to existing coverage.
    • Maximum benefits $360,000; spouse/domestic partner maximum benefit is 50% of member's benefit
    • Termination age 80
    • Benefits reduce by 50% of current benefit at ages 65, 70 and 75

    G-2766-3 (5 Year Age-Banded plan) through age 75

    • Available to all ABA members under age 76 who reside in the United States and Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands
    • Maximum benefit $750,000* - spouse/domestic partner coverage is available up to 100% of member amount.
    • Termination age 85
    • Benefits reduce at age 60 to 66% of the original amount, by 46% at age 65 and to 30% at age 70 (benefit reduction based on the original benefit)
    • Automatic benefit increase option (member only) increases original benefit amount by 10% every June 1st for up to ten years as long as the member is under age 60, is not totally disabled, the additional premium due is paid and the total life benefit of $750,000 is not exceeded
    • Standard and preferred non-smoker rates
    • Volume discounts - for amounts of $100,000-$299,000 and $300,000-$499,000 and $500,000-$750,000.

    G-29104-0 (10-Year Level Term)

    • Available to all ABA members under the age of 65 who reside in the United States
    • Benefits from $100,000 up to $2,000,000*
    • NEW! Waiver of Premium Option (for members under age 55) — this affordable option can help ensure your coverage remains in force if you were to become totally disabled.
    • Spouse/domestic partner coverage is available — up to 100% of the member amount. Rates are locked in and guaranteed for 10 years.
    • Volume discounts - the higher the benefit amount, the more you can save.
    • The cost of this life insurance is based upon the member and spouse/domestic partner's gender, amount of insurance requested, usage of tobacco/nicotine products, health status, and attained age on the date the application is postmarked. Only non-smokers meeting the highest underwriting standards may qualify for the Preferred rates. Other non-smokers may qualify for the Select rates, higher but still competitive. Smokers may qualify for the Standard rates only.
    • Termination age 75.

    G-29168-0 (20-Year Level Term)

    • Available to all ABA members under the age of 55 who reside in the United States
    • Benefits from $100,000 up to $2,000,000*
    • NEW! Waiver of Premium Option — this affordable option can help ensure your coverage remains in force if you were to become totally disabled.
    • Spouse/domestic partner coverage is available — up to 100% of the member amount. Rates are locked in and guaranteed for 20 years.
    • Volume discounts - the higher the benefit amount, the more you can save.
    • The cost of this life insurance is based upon the member and spouse/domestic partner's gender, amount of insurance requested, usage of tobacco/nicotine products, health status, and attained age on the date the application is postmarked. Only non-smokers meeting the highest underwriting standards may qualify for the Preferred rates. Other non-smokers may qualify for the Select rates, higher but still competitive. Smokers may qualify for the Standard rates only.
    • Termination age 75.
  4. *Please note: The maximum benefit under ALL life plans is $2,000,000.

  5. What are the current rates on the 10- and 20-Year Level Term Life Insurance Plans?

    See the Life Rate Chart or rate calculator located on this website.

  6. Can I apply for Term Life coverage for my spouse/domestic partner?

    Yes. If you are insured, you can apply for spouse/domestic partner coverage for up to 100% of your benefit but not to exceed the plan maximum. The maximum benefit under ALL Life Plans is $2,000,000. NOTE: If both you and your spouse/domestic partner are ABA members, you may both apply for member coverage, but if you do, neither of you may insure the other as a spouse, and only one of you may insure all of your dependent children.

  7. Are the Term Life rates expensive? Are they competitive?

    We feel our current plan rates are competitive particularly when you take into account that dividends/experience credits from 15% to 43% of premium have been paid each year over the past ten years. (Neither future dividends/experience credits nor their amounts are guaranteed.) If you deduct the dividends/experience credits (when available) from the premium to determine the cost of the insurance, we think you'll find the plan to be competitive.

  8. How does the 5-Year Age Banded Term Life Insurance Plan benefit decrease and at what age?

    For the 5-Year Age Banded Term Life plan, each $1,000 option reduces to $660 at age 60 and to $460 at age 65, and to $300 at age 70. To calculate benefit at age 60, multiply the original benefit by .66, at age 65 by .46, and at age 70 by .30. The plan terminates at age 75.

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Hospital Money Plan

  1. I was in the emergency room for 4 hours. Does this qualify for benefits on the Hospital Money Plan?

    No, you must have had a covered hospital stay of at least 18 consecutive hours and be billed for room and board charges in order to qualify for the daily benefit.

  2. What is the age limit on child coverage for the Hospital Money Plan?

    You can insure your dependent children (including those that are married) up to age 26 (age 30 for residents of NY or those who have served in active
    or reserve Armed Forces and were honorably discharged).

  3. Is one claim form needed for two separate hospital stays for the same illness?

    A separate claim form is needed for each hospital stay.

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Disability

  1. Can I purchase ABE-sponsored Disability Income insurance if I am not employed?

    No, the plan is designed to protect against the loss of your income in the event a disability occurs. If you're not employed, you have no income to replace.

  2. What if I work part-time or work temporary jobs from time to time?

    You must be employed full-time and actively at work to be covered in the ABE-sponsored plan and remain covered.

  3. What is the difference between the Mid-Term (MTD) and Long Term Disability (LTD) Plans?

    The major difference is the period of time for which benefits are paid. The Mid-Term Plan's maximum benefit period is two years for a sickness (except for total disability due to mental illness) and five years for an accident. The Long Term Plan is payable to age age 65 for total disabilities beginning prior to age 63 (except for total disabilities due to mental illness). If the disability begins on or after your 63rd birthday, but before your 70th, benefits are payable for up to two years if the disability continues for that period. If the disability begins on or after your 70th but before your 75th birthday, benefits will be payable for up to 12 months if the disability continues for that period. Please see the Long Term and the Mid-Term Disability plans for more information.

  4. How would I calculate my annual earned income to decide what Disability plan benefit amount I am eligible to apply for?

    Use the dollar amount you report on your taxes as earned income and divide it by 18 to get your correct benefit monthly amount (if applying for benefit amounts of $7,500 and under). Divide by 20 for benefit amounts over $7,500.

  5. Please explain your Disability Income plan benefits and rates.

    See Disability plan descriptions located within this website.

  6. Are Disability benefits payable for pregnancy?

    Yes, pregnancy is covered.

  7. Do I need to go through underwriting when I apply for the Disability plan?

    Yes, the application will be reviewed by The United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York. The underwriting process takes an average of six to eight weeks from the time we receive the application.

  8. How do I check on the status of my Disability claim?

    Contact the United States Life Claim Office at 1-866-894-3840 to speak to your Case Manager.

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Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance

  1. Is there a common carrier benefit on the AD&D plan?

    Yes, there is a 10% common carrier benefit. In the event of death on a commercial aircraft, train, boat, or taxi (as a passenger), 10% of the benefit will be added to the death proceeds.

  2. If I pilot my own airplane, am I covered on the AD&D plan?

    No, the plan covers you only as a passenger and not as a pilot or crew of any licensed, commercial or non-military aircraft.

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Professional Overhead Expense Insurance

  1. Does the Professional Overhead plan cover my salary along with the office expenses?

    No, it does not cover your salary or any other attorney's salary. The ABE does sponsor a disability plan to replace part of your salary in the event of a disabling accident or sickness.

  2. Does the Professional Overhead plan have a waiting period?

    Yes, it has a 30 day waiting period. You need to be totally disabled 30 consecutive days in order to start your benefit period.

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All ABE-sponsored plans are group insurance plans, meaning coverage is issued to an ABA member under a Certificate of Insurance. It is not provided under an individual policy, nor is it employer/employee insurance. Plans may vary and may not be available in all states.

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