Act Now for NFL Long Term Care Insurance

If you are over age 50, and have not submitted an application for the NFL LTC (Long Term Care) Insurance Program provided by Transamerica Life Insurance Company, please do so as soon as possible. The window to apply for this benefit will close on August 31, 2011.  

I spoke to a Transamerica representative and they told me they do not know if or when there might be an open enrollment period for players that miss this deadline. So do yourself, and more importantly, your family, a big favor, and make every effort to obtain this coverage. 

We don’t know what the future holds for us. In the blink of an eye, we could be incapacitated by an accident or ailment. If we don’t have the proper insurance, our family’s financial security could be jeopardized. For those players that are approved for this coverage, it is good to know that they have a policy in place that will assist them with the financial burden of in-home care and out-of-home residential nursing care. 

As of August 1, 2011, Transamerica had received a total of 1856 applications from former players. Of those, 1,215 have been approved and 399 declined, for an approval rate of 76%. The NFL projected an approval rate of between 75 – 80%.  

It is my understanding that all states, except New York and Vermont, have approved this insurance policy. Transamerica is optimistic that these states will approve it soon. I would assume that, upon approval, the players living in New York and Vermont will be allowed an extension to the August 31, 2011 deadline to apply for this benefit. 

After this initial enrollment period, players will apply for Long Term Care Insurance when they turn 50. The NFL and Transamerica expect a much higher acceptance rate for that group—somewhere in the 95% range. 

Back on June 27, 2011, I wrote an article about the LTC (Long Term Care) insurance program that addressed some of the misconceptions that were circulating about this new benefit. As I said in my article, the NFL knew that some inactive players would not qualify for this insurance program, but unfortunately many players, for whatever reason, never got that information. 

It is important to remember that the eligibility determinations are made by the insurance carrier, Transamerica, and they are based on underwriting standards that are similar to what other insurance companies use when they provide this same type of insurance.   

Here are some noteworthy points: 

  • By including men up to age 75 in the LTC program, the NFL increased the number of former players that would be declined for this coverage. Nonetheless, the NFL wanted to try to make this benefit available to as many as possible.
  • The NFL was also aware that many of those declined coverage would be due to a suspected cognitive impairment. If those players are later diagnosed with dementia, Parkinson’s disease and/or ALS, they will be covered by the more generous 88 Plan.
  • Moreover, we expect that other disabling ailments will be addressed in the Former Player Life Improvement Plan, previously known as the NFL Player Care Plan, in the future.
  • There is also a new Neuro-Cognitive Disability Benefit that covers mild and moderately affected players. Some basic information can be found in the NFL Alumni’s recent CBA FAQs. 

If you have not applied for Long-Term Care Insurance, I have provided a phone number below for you to call and get more information. Please distribute this information to every retired player you know. It was estimated that 2,500 players (50 to 75 years of age) would be eligible to apply. That means we have more than 600 former players that have not applied (including New York and Vermont residents). 

Here is the number to call: 1-800-260-7512.  

You can also visit their website at


About Jeff Nixon

Jeff was a first team consensus All-American from the University of Richmond in 1978. He is 7th in NCAA history with 23 career interceptions. Played for the Buffalo Bills 1979-1984. Led the team with 6 interceptions in Rookie Year. Holds Bills record for 4 takeaways in a single game - 3 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Tied Bills record with four consecutive games with an interception. After 5 knee surgeries Jeff retired from pro football in 1985. He worked for 13 years (1988-2000) as the Youth Bureau Director for Buffalo and Erie County. He has worked for the past 11 years as the Youth Employment Director for Buffalo. Plays guitar and was voted best R&B guitar player by Buffalo Nightlife Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Posted on August 17, 2011, in NFL Alumni News. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.



    • I would not worry about ‘living’ off of LTC for over 4 years. I don’t think you or your loved one would want to ‘live’ on that benefit for very long. IMO

      • If your state isn’t on the choices is it not available?

        • Jim:

          The insurance company Transamerica is currently working with the New York and Vermont State Insurance Boards to make sure they meet all requirements estblished by those states. I think it will just be a matter of time – hopefully sooner than later – that they will resolve all their issues and start allowing players living in those states the opportunity to apply for ceverage.

    • Jay:

      Right now the NFL and the NFLPA are negotiating the terms of the Legacy Fund.

      Unfortunately, the plan has a maximum benefit of $219,000. I’m not sure if that means the policy ends in 4 years. If some used the full $150 a day for 4 straight years then that would exhaust all of the money, but some players may not need the out-of-home care and as such, their expenses might not be as much. I’ll do some more research on this and get back to you. Jeff Nixon

  2. Good questions Jay. I have the same concerns. chris burford

    • Chris:

      Right now the NFL and the NFLPA are negotiating the terms of the Legacy Fund.

      Unfortunately, the LTC plan has a maximum benefit of $219,000. I’m not sure if that means the policy ends in 4 years. If some players (or their wives if they have a policy) used the full $150 a day for 4 straight years then that would exhaust all of the money, but some players may not need the out-of-home care and as such, their expenses might not be as much. I’ll do some more research on this and get back to you.

  3. Jeff- I do not know if you read the FAQ’s the NFL Alumni put up on the net. I was surprised to read that a $133 per month increase in pension benefits to vested Pre 93′ was being discussed by the powers that be. This is a significant decrease in the NFL Management Council’s initial proposal of a $2000 increase in monthly pension income across the board to vested retirees that De Smith and the NFLPA flatly turned down. The $133 per month proposal is also less than the paltry figure of $1000 per month Smith mentioned at the onset of negotiations. You probably remember the disdain the Pre 93′ rank and file expressed regarding that figure. Sadly, I shouldn’t be surprised at any disappointments derived from the Legacy Fund’s final allocation of funds. Pre 93′ retirees have always been the first to get screwed in past CBA negotiations and the last to be included in any bargaining table decisions.

  4. Jeff, I would love to apply for LTC disability insurance but because of my football related injuries I could not pass the application process?????????????????

    • Rex:

      Please contact them and at least give it a shot. Other players with physical disabilities have obtained coverage. I can’t guarentee anything, but you won’t know unless you try.

      Call me if you have questions. 716-912-0019

  5. Cotton Davidson

    If you are over 75 and resonably good health how would the 88 plan aply? Cotton Davidson

  6. I filled out an application and sent it in. Then they wanted to talk to me for at least 30 minutes, and I was supposed to, not asked questions, and I said no thanks.
    They said they had been trying to get back in touch with me to straighten things out, and I have not heard anything from them.

    • John:

      Don’t wait for them to call. Please contact them and do everything you can to obtain coverage.

      Call me if you have questions. 716-912-0019

  7. Jeff, Add me to the list of NFL players rejected for Long Term Care insurance. My major concern was.. why did my insurance carrier, Northwestern Mutual, approve me for the same basic cover four years earlier? All my medical issues, like most NFL players, are football related. If it cost more (premium) to insure us, the NFL owners need to pay it. It makes no sense to reject those players that may need this medical coverage the most. This liability is a NFL owner medical liability expense that has been dumped on the players and the rest of the community. The owners need to pay a higher premium cost and cover all the NFL retirees.

  8. patrick venzke

    sorry if my question may sound ignorant, who is paying for the coverage and can any former player (regardless of age) enroll?

    • Patrick:

      The NFL is paying the entire cost of the premiums for this coverage. The insurance is only available for players between the ages of 50 and 75. Former Players must also meet other criteria to qualify for the coverage.

      Jeff Nixon

  9. dad is 87 i guess that leaves him out , NOT SUPPRISED !!!!

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