Broad View: January

One of the central pillars of the new OPA Strategic Plan is to:

“Support the personal and professional lives of psychologists throughout their lifespan, from student status through retirement.”

We have been working on many fronts to make progress toward this goal.

Our Early Career Psychologist Committee just completed a survey that gives us some very helpful data on the demographics of our ECPs and what they want and need from OPA. Significant discussions are occurring on how best to respond to what the data tells us. ECPs who want to join the ECP Committee should contact me.

OPAGS, our graduate student group, is planning to do a similar survey. Their plans are well underway for a day-long program scheduled for Saturday, February 16, covering all facets of applying for and getting internships. An important project that our Foundation is pursuing is to develop a collaborative for the purposes of creating new internship opportunities for Ohio graduate students.

As a free member benefit we have provided two recent webinars for OPA members. Each offered one-hour of free CE to OPA members. Dr. Bobbie Celeste and Dr. Howard Bonem presented on the new CPT codes at the end of December. On January 3, Dr. Alice Randolph presented on Medicare’s Physician’s Quality and Reporting System (PQRS). These are both critical topics that can impact your income. These webinars are available online for those who missed the live presentations. Thanks to Dr. Celeste, Dr. Bonem and Dr. Randolph for volunteering their time to develop and present these important and timely programs.

The process of making disability insurance available to OPA members at a discounted price through the Principal Financial Group, has made us aware that many OPA members need support in estate and financial planning. Disability insurance is a very important financial tool to assure income when health concerns keep you from working. We are working to develop a broader range of financial planning and management resources for OPA members.

We tried to respond to what many of you told us was a serious need with our two attempts to develop an alliance insurance program for OPA members. The committee that coordinated this worked hard and we were all disappointed that we fell short of the numbers we needed to establish a plan. We haven’t quit in our search for a way to help OPA members find high quality, affordable health insurance. The responses from many of you when our second attempt failed and the ideas and comments we received continue to underscore how important this is to many of you. Many of you expressed disappointment that we had fallen short of our goals for applications. Your questions mirrored our questions when we first started the process:

  • Can we join with other professions to form a group that is large enough to enable us to get good coverage and good rates? No, we are limited to OPA members/psychologists and employees of member psychologists in developing our Alliance Plan. After about two years of coverage, once we fully establish the plan, we can offer health insurance to OPA graduate student members and psychologists and others working under contract for an OPA member.
  • How far off were we in getting the number of applications we needed? The second time around we ended up with fewer applications than we had the first time (only about 125-we needed 1000). This was extremely disappointing since we thought we had done a better job of marketing this opportunity than we did the first time, including inviting non-members to submit applications with the understanding that if they wanted the insurance after getting the rates they would have to join OPA, and much greater visibility at Convention.

We still believe that health insurance for OPA members is an important member benefit and are investigating other options to find a way to do this. We suspect that many people opted not to submit an application and to wait to see how the Affordable Care Act impacts access to health insurance. We are also monitoring this to see what the quality and cost of insurance is for members in the future and whether we can do better.

Have you heard about our PROS Group? (Psychologists Retired of Ohio). They meet periodically at the OPA Central Office. They have been writing articles and developing materials to help guide OPA members as they move toward retirement. Considering the average of our members, guidance in retirement planning will be important to large numbers of members in the years ahead. Many recent retirees tell us how ill prepared they were for the process of retiring and for the transition from work to retirement.

If you have suggestions for specific things that OPA could do to be more supportive of members through the life span of their involvement in OPA, please let me know. We welcome your suggestions!

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