Think you know your MBP savings ops? Are you sure?
By SHERRY HALBROOK
How in tune are you with the many dozens of valuable benefits available to you through the Membership Benefits Program?
Try your luck with this quiz! And if you are a PEF member or a PEF Retiree you should be able to ace this. After all, there are only a few questions:
- How many of the PEF Membership Benefits Program benefits can you name?
- Are any of them entirely free to you?
- What are the three ways you can access your MBP benefits?
- How many different MBP benefits have you used?
- How much money have you saved?
Some of the most popular benefits are discounts for entertainment and recreation. If you couldn’t even think of movie tickets, you need to get out more. MBP sold 195,000 discounted movie tickets in 2018.
But don’t stop there. You can buy discounted ski lift tickets, and choose from a wide variety of discounted tickets to Disney, theme parks and water parks, theatrical events, concerts, baseball games and other pro sports such as basketball and football games, hockey, soccer and golf.
Do you enjoy museums? Zoos? Aquariums? MBP has you covered. How about steamship or gondola rides? How about the state fair? MBP has discounted tickets for these and more.
If these are things you enjoy, don’t miss out. MBP sold 30,000 amusement park tickets and 20,000 ski lift tickets. Clearly your coworkers and fellow members are on top of these great discounts.
How about Family Fun Days? Tickets for these warm weather events are extremely popular and sell out fast. Keep checking the MBP website because they will announce the 2020 events soon.
And discounted gift cards? That’s another super popular benefit that keeps expanding to offer more choices. And with the holidays barely over a month away, this is one benefit you definitely want to keep in mind.
Fun can be healthy, so MBP offers discounts on gym and fitness memberships. And working out can make you hungry, so there are also coupons books and discounts and for many restaurants.
Get serious (and free)!
So you thought of some of the ticket discounts and maybe the Fun Days and gift cards, too. But what about some of the really valuable benefits that don’t cost you anything? No, your dues don’t pay for them either. MBP is not-for-profit, so it just reinvests the money it earns into improving and expanding benefits for you.
Surely you thought of free financial planning and credit counseling, right? Or the free college benefit that lets you or your family member get a two-year college degree at no cost for your books or tuition? How could you forget that! Hundreds of members are already using the free college benefit that was just rolled out in March 2018.
PEF and MBP want to be there when you suddenly need help. So, barely a decade after PEF was formed, it made national news by insuring its members against being criminally assaulted and injured or held captive while they are on the job. Called ATAC Insurance, this free benefit provides some financial help to members and their families to help them get through some shocking and scary times.
Recognizing the many upsetting and serious issues that sometimes arise for PEF members on their jobs, MBP provides three different free benefits for help with legal defenses to work-related charges that range from criminal offenses, discharge of an official weapon and charges brought by the state Justice Center. If you’ve never needed these benefits it’s understandable that they might not have come to mind as responses to this quiz, but you never know if the time might come when you would be very glad to remember and access them.
You can attend free educational seminars on such practical subjects as college planning, retirement planning, elder law planning, tax planning and investment planning. Did you know that? These seminars are offered in regions across the state and they are conducted by experts who will not sell you any products. They are just going to give you information to help you make the best choices you can. MBP is working on adding webinars to this benefit for those of you who prefer to just go online to learn.
Another super popular benefit that you may have thought of because you use it, is the reimbursement of your civil service exam fees, for both open-competitive and promotional exams.
Here’s one you should be thinking about with holiday gift-giving coming right up: discounts on Apple and Dell computers! And while we’re thinking about buying things for yourself or as gifts for others, how about discounted memberships for sports and recreation retailers, wholesale clubs, and other local retailers including a florist and a furniture store.
Did you think of deeply discounted online Defensive Driving seminars? They are not free, but they can save you money beyond the up-front discount, by reducing any points against your driver’s license and qualifying you for a discount on your car insurance.
And speaking of driving, here’s a discount expansion that’s still in the works (So, no, you aren’t likely to have thought of it.. We’re talking about discounts on car and truck rentals. These can come in handy for so many things, especially if you live in New York City and rely on public transportation, instead of owning a vehicle.
They may not be free, but there are more valuable discounts that you might not realize you can access through MBP. For instance, did you know there are home heating discounts? They could come in very handy with chilly fall weather breathing down our necks again in New York. What about saving money on electrical costs year-round with solar panels? Did you think of that? Did you even know about it? This one can not only save you money on your energy bills well into the future, it’s an important step toward reducing our carbon footprint and fighting climate change.
You don’t have to be accused of breaking laws or rules to need legal advice. So you must have thought of the discounted Legal Services Plan that you can subscribe to for advice on planning your estate, family law, real estate purchases or sales, and other matters. This is one of the MBP benefits that’s been offered for years and is very popular with members. Did you think to put it on your list?
- If you didn’t think of the many discounted insurance plans that MBP offers, you must be one of the union’s newer members and this is a great time to become aware of these key benefits that are among the very first that were offered.
These include short-term disability insurance, long-term disability insurance, and group term life insurance. They can come in really handy when you are too ill or injured to work, or if you are no longer living and available to support your family.
Just about everybody can benefit from discounts on their auto insurance and their homeowners insurance or renters insurance. And, again, these opportunities to save go way back to MBP’s earliest days.
Did you think of AFLAC insurance that can give you an extra level of benefits for medical care for injuries sustained in an accident? Even if you thought of AFLAC coverage for accident–related injuries, did you realize you can also get it for a welcome extra layer of coverage when you are diagnosed with a covered cancer?
But how about discounts on pet insurance? That’s one that can save you a lot of money on unexpected vet bills. If you had this one on your list, bravo! It means you are paying pretty good attention to the opportunities for savings available to you because you are a PEF member or a member of PEF Retirees.
If you read the “Get serious (and free)!” section above, you already know about the many entirely free benefits you may access through MBP.
YES!! You absolutely can get there from here, wherever that might be. That’s because you may access MBP benefits:
• Online at com;
• By phone at 800-342-4306, X 243, or 518-785-1900, X 243; or
• In person at the MBP offices, located at 10 Airline Drive, Suite 101, Albany, NY 12205.
Business hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- and 5.
These are the most important questions, but only you know the answers to how many valuable benefits you have used and how much you have saved.
“We really hope you’ve enjoyed this quiz to help you think about the benefits you know about and possibly some surprises you did not recall or never knew we offer at MBP,” said MBP Administrator Scott Harms. “These plans, discounts and programs are a broad array of value-added opportunities for you as a PEF member or as a member of PEF Retirees. Many of them, such as the free college benefit, are things you can share with your spouse, your partner, your children and even your grandchildren.
“Whether you are single or the bread-winner for your family, PEF and MBP want to help you stretch your hard earned paycheck or pension check as far as possible, because you are part of the PEF family.”
Harms added that he and the MBP trustees – Chair Stephanie McLean Beathley, PEF President Wayne Spence, PEF Secretary-Treasurer Kay Alison Wilkie, Barbara Corse-Johnson and Joe Donahue – welcome your comments and suggestions for new benefits you would like for MBP to consider adding to its ever expanding offerings.
“We are always thinking about ways to expand and improve, but you might think of something we are entirely missing,” Harms said. “So, send your ideas along to gro.f1576407133ep@st1576407133seuqe1576407133rbewb1576407133m1576407133. We are looking forward to seeing what you come up with.”
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