Insurance Update
July  2017
Issue No. 82
In this issue
 Healthy Aging

About Us 
Insurance logo 
  A not-for-profit ministry of
Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.

Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides the following products: dental, vision, basic life and accidental death & dismemberment, supplemental life and AD&D, dependent life and AD&D, retiree life, long-term disability, short-term disability, voluntary accident insurance, and Medicare supplement for eligible Church of the Brethren employees .
Dental, vision, retiree life, and Medicare supplement coverage may also be available for eligible retired Church of the Brethren employees.
For eligibility information, call Connie Sandman at 800-746-1505, ext. 366, or contact your human resources representative.
Medical and ancillary plans (named above) may be available to Brethren-affiliated employer groups.
Long-Term Care Insurance is available for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities. 

Contact Us 
1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120


Welcome to our mid-summer issue. During these lively colorful days, we hope you are able to take a break from your work and choose to do something fun and relaxing, like spending time away at a summer cottage with your family, enjoying outdoor adventures or outdoor leisure, traveling around the country, camping (or if you prefer, staying at a cozy inn or hotel), savoring good food, or just being awed by the beauty of nature. The list of summer pleasures could go on and on.
As we reflect on the lightness of mid-summer, it can also be a time to pause and consider a more serious topic that deserves our attention . One of the most extraordinary things about the time in which we live is the huge demographic change occurring as people live longer and longer. There are substantial medical implications, so we are exploring the diseases that are and will be found in our aging population.
The National Council on Older Adults has created a fact sheet on Healthy Aging that includes statistics about our aging population, as well as resources that are available. You can access it by clicking the PDF on healthy aging in the box on the left . And as long as we are on the topic of living longer, we will feature an article on life insurance to let you know the important things to look for when considering coverage of this type.
We hope you will find this month's issue of Insurance Update enlightening, and that it helps you think about your own health.
Life insurance
We see ads and media references to life insurance almost every day. Most people would probably agree that it's good to have some coverage of this type at least for the expenses associated with end of life (funeral, burial, etc.), and others would like to be assured they are covering for their family, should something happen during their prime earning years. Still others like the idea of leaving behind a nice gift for their beneficiaries when they're gone. But how do you shop for life insurance and how do you know you are getting a good deal?
How much life insurance do you need?
To answer this you have to answer two prior questions:
  1. How much will be needed at your death to meet immediate obligations including uncovered medical bills, funeral costs, estate-settling costs, outstanding debts, mortgage balance, college loans, and more?
  2. How much future income will be needed to sustain your household? The general rule of thumb is to have 10 times your annual salary in life insurance while still in the working phase of life -- especially when you have children and a mortgage to consider.
Where should you purchase life insurance? What about Brethren Insurance Service
Purchasing life insurance through an employer's group plan can save you money compared with purchasing an individual policy on your own.
Brethren Insurance Services offers competitive rates, and if your employer offers our life insurance product, signing up is easy. Be sure to sign up within 31 days of your hire date, or during the annual open enrollment period in November.  It may be possible to get coverage outside of those time frames, but underwriting will be required. (Even if your insurance is not through Brethren Insurance Services, these basic guidelines still apply.)

Basic Life
Brethren Insurance Services offers the group life insurance called Basic Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance. 

If you work 20 hours per week or more for a Church of the Brethren congregation, district, or camp, the benefits -- which are determined by age and status and are available without underwriting during the initial eligibility period -- are as follows:  
  • Under age 65, active employee:                $50,000
  • Age 65 and over, active employee:           $26,000
  • Retired:                                                         $7,500, $10,000, or $15,000
If you work for another employer associated with Brethren Insurance Services, contact your employer for your benefit levels.
Supplemental Life
BIS also offers additional insurance, called supplemental life, which is available to active employees who have the Basic Life coverage. It is age-related and the policy can go as high as five-times your salary to a maximum of $400,000. There is also insurance available for your spouse, up to $150,000, and insurance for a dependent child is available up to $20,000.
If you receive proceeds from a policy
There is one matter not often discussed regarding life insurance. What should you do if you are the beneficiary on a life insurance policy, and you receive the proceeds after the person dies?
First, you should know that these proceeds are generally not taxed. The first thing you will want to do is consult a financial adviser, because you will want to think about how to invest and/or use the money. The insurance company itself may offer you some options for keeping your money with them, receiving interest, and taking the money in periodic payments. You will want to think about how much you want to use and how much you want to preserve to produce monthly income. Your adviser will help you decide what to do.
Two winners!

Randy Yoder, long-term care specialist, (left) with Jimm Roland.
Barbara Curtis with Jeremiah Thompson, director of Insurance Operations, (right).

Brethren insurance Services sponsored a drawing at this year's Annual Conference. Anyone requesting a proposal for long-term care insurance had his or her name entered in a drawing. 

Our winners, Jimm Roland of Mannheim, Pa., and Barbara Curtis of East Lansing, Mich., each received a $50 gift card. Congratulations, Jimm and Barbara!  
Diseases of the elderly

If you are in your 60s or 70s, think back to your childhood years. Chances are you did not know anyone who was 90 years old, and you probably knew very few people in their 80s. Today, on the other hand, you may have elderly parents in their 90s and friends with similarly elderly parents. You probably know many 80-year-olds, and it does not even occur to you that an 80-year-old is unusual. Recently, in a congregation with an attendance of about 110, the worship leader asked members who were 80 years old or older to stand. Nearly a dozen stood, and some of the active qualifying members were not in church that day. It's not uncommon for retirement centers to have a half dozen or more 100-year-olds. And if you are, indeed, in your 60s or 70s, chances are you don't think of yourself as "old," though when you were a child, you surely called people such as yourself "old people."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, America's population of people 90 and older has tripled since 1980, reaching 1.9 million in 2010, and will be at an estimated 2.3 million by 2020. Between 1940 and 2010 the number of people 65 and older doubled. This is having all sorts of unintended and unexpected consequences, not the least of which is the effect on Social Security and Medicare. The fact that there are more people living longer is forcing us to rethink our understanding of the life cycle and how to live into an age that at one time didn't seem possible, let alone typical.

One of the places this new longevity is having a significant impact is on illness and disease. People have more years in which to develop maladies, and there are diseases to which the elderly are particularly susceptible.

Here is a survey of what might be called diseases of the elderly. Its purpose is to help you think about the medical implications of increased longevity and also as something to ponder as you think about your own health.

Adult onset diabetes (type 2)
More than 25 percent of people 65 or older have diabetes; the majority of cases are type 2 diabetes. The body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. Older adults with diabetes are further at risk for other conditions such as cardiovascular complications, visual impairment, urinary incontinence, renal disease, and depression.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage between the bones degrades through wear and tear until it becomes very thin, allowing the bones to rub together. This causes pain, inflammation, and difficulty moving the joint. This is most commonly seen in the elderly. (Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is caused by an overactive auto-immune system and is not found primarily in the elderly.)

Kidney and bladder problems
Aging increases the risk of kidney and bladder problems, such as losing bladder control (urinary incontinence), not being able to completely empty your bladder, susceptibility to urinary tract infections, and suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Neurodegenerative disease
Neurodegenerative disease is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that primarily affect the neurons in the human brain. Neurons normally don't reproduce, so when they become damaged or die they cannot be replaced. Neurodegenerative diseases are incurable, debilitating conditions. The progressive degeneration and/or death of nerve cells causes problems with movement (called ataxia), or mental functioning (called dementia). 

Dementia is responsible for the greatest burden of neurodegenerative diseases, with Alzheimer's representing approximately 60-70 percent of dementia cases. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that slowly erodes memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out simple tasks. It accounts for approximately 50-70 percent of all cases of dementia. The incidence of Alzheimer's rises exponentially with advancing age. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer's.

Diseases of the eye
Age-related macular degeneration is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision, which is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving.

Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens in the eye. Vision can appear cloudy or blurry, colors may seem faded, and the person may notice a lot of glare.

Diabetic eye disease is a complication of diabetes and a leading cause of blindness. The most common form is diabetic retinopathy that occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels inside the retina.

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. It is usually associated with high pressure in the eye and affects side or peripheral vision.

Respiratory disease
Asthma and COPD -- Nearly 15 percent, or about one in seven, middle-aged and older U.S. adults suffer from lung disorders such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. While 10 percent of those people experience mild breathing problems, more than one-third of them report moderate or severe respiratory symptoms.
Influenza -- Aging increases the risk of contracting influenza and pneumonia. Influenza, or flu, is an illness caused by the influenza virus of which there are many different strains. While flu strikes people of all ages, those aged 65 years and older are disproportionately affected in terms of both hospitalization and death, with the oldest at the greatest risk. About 90 percent of those people dying from flu are over age 65.
Pneumonia -- This is a chest infection that can be caused by a variety of viruses as well as bacteria or fungi. Pneumonia is the fourth leading cause of death among the elderly. Typically pneumonia occurs when a patient's immune system is weakened due to another illness, such as bronchitis or flu, and many people develop it in the hospital. 

Osteoporosis is a chronic skeletal disease that causes reduced bone mass and deterioration of the bones' microarchitecture, resulting in an increased risk of fracture, which is the most serious consequence of this disorder.  Seventy percent of all fractures are sustained by those aged 65 or older. Fractures have a serious negative impact on quality of life and are often the trigger for accelerated deterioration, ultimately ending in death. Despite the availability of effective preventive treatments, osteoporosis among the elderly is frequently underdiagnosed and/or undertreated.

Depression may sometimes be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in older adults, because sadness is not the main symptom. They may have other less obvious symptoms, and they may not be willing to talk about their feelings. They may feel tired, helpless, or hopeless, and may have lost interest in many of the activities and interests they previously enjoyed. They may have trouble working, sleeping, eating, or just functioning, and this may go on day after day. If these symptoms apply, these older adults may be experiencing depression. As people get older, they go through a lot of changes - the death of loved ones, retirement, stressful life events, and medical problems. It's normal to feel uneasy, stressed, or sad about these changes. But after adjusting, most older adults feel well again. Depression is different. It is a condition that interferes with daily life and normal functioning.

Cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease
The term Cardiovascular Disease refers to a group of diseases related to the heart and blood vessels, such as arteriosclerosis, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, or heart valve problems. Coronary heart disease is one of these diseases.

CHD is the leading cause of death of elderly men and women -- 81 percent of adults who die of CHD are aged 65 or older. The average age of a first heart attack is 64.7 years for men and 72.2 years for women. Because women have heart attacks at older ages than men, they're more likely to die from them within a few weeks.

An estimated 83.6 million American adults (more than 1 in 3) have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. Of these, 42.2 million are estimated to be 60 years of age or older. For the 60-through-79-year-old age group, the following have some form of CVD: 70.2 percent of men and 70.9 percent of women. For the 80-plus-year-old age group, the following have CVD: 83 percent of men and 87.1 percent of women.

Cancer in the elderly
As the population continues to expand during this period from 2000 to 2050, the number and percentage of Americans over 65 are expected to double. Since cancer incidence increases exponentially with advancing age, it is expected that there will be a surge in older cancer patients that will challenge both healthcare institutions and healthcare professionals. All cancers combined (except non-melanoma skin cancer) are almost seven times more frequent among elderly men (2,158 per 100,000 person-years), and around four times more frequent among elderly women (1.192 per 100,000 person-years) than among younger persons (30 to 64 years old).

The risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55. Strokes can and do occur at any age, but nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people after the age of 65. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Obesity rates have increased in most age groups in the United States in recent years, but the biggest rise has been in older adults. The obesity rate among people 65 and older has increased by 4 percentage points - from 23.4 percent in 2008 to 27.4 percent in 2014.

Oral problems
Older persons are at risk of chronic diseases of the mouth, including dental infections such as tooth decay or cavities, periodontitis, tooth loss, benign mucosal lesions, and oral cancer. Other common oral conditions are dry mouth, thrush, denture sores, and inflammation at the corners of the mouth.

Skin infections
Changes to aging skin and its ability to heal and resist disease mean that skin infections get much more common as people get older. These include viral infections like herpes zoster (shingles), pressure ulcers, bacterial or fungal foot infections (which can be more common in those with diabetes), cellulitis, and even drug-resistant infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.

Gastrointestinal infections
Gastrointestinal diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux and peptic ulcers, are prevalent in the elderly.

This is a daunting list, and it reminds us that the medical community will have its work cut out for it in the coming decades. But if we were to look more deeply into each of these diseases, we would find that important research is being conducted into their causes and treatment.

Thus, this longer life that most of us want to and probably will experience is presenting both challenges and opportunities, not the least of which are the advances in medicine it will push forward.

Adapted from  U.S. Census Bureau
Brain Puzzle
We hope you are enjoying our  monthly BRAIN PUZZLES -- just for fun!

Exercise your memory and reasoning skills with these U.S. and international proverbs from

According to Dr. Pascale Michelon, memory relies mostly on some temporal (in green) and frontal (in red) areas of the brain. These may be the areas that will get stimulated when you (assuming you are American or have lived in the U.S. for long) try to remember the missing words in the American proverbs below.

However when it comes to international proverbs below you may have to use your reasoning skills more than your memory skills, as it is likely that you do not know these proverbs. In this case, the frontal exercise is more intense. Try to guess what the final words of each international proverb might be. Use your logical skills.

If you live outside the USA, your experience will probably be the reverse.

U.S. Proverbs

1. The early bird gets the ___________.

2. After all is _______ and done, more is said than __________.

3. From ___________ beginnings come great ____________.

4. Don't ___________ horses while crossing a ____________.

5. There are three kinds of _________; those that make ________ happen, those that watch things __________ and those who don't know what's _______________.

6. The frog does not ____________ the pond in which he __________.

International proverbs

1. With enough "ifs" we could put Paris into a _________. (France)

2. Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in ____________.  (France)

3. A closed mouth catches no _____________ .  (France)

4. Appetite comes with _______________ .  (France)

5. If you are looking for a fly in your food it means that you are ___________. (South Africa)

6. Behold the iguana puffing itself out to make itself a ____________.  (South Africa)

7. Milk the cow, but do not pull off the ___________. (Greece)

8. If you want to gather a lot of knowledge, act as if you are _________________. (Vietnam)

Taken from
LTCILong-Term Care Insurance 
Brethren Insurance Services offers Long-Term Care Insurance
Eligibility for long-term care insurance benefits is determined by the inability to meet at least two of these six activities of daily living -- bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, continence, or transferring. Cognitive impairment can also trigger benefits.
It's difficult to think about the fact that a debilitating condition or a disabling injury might leave you unable to care for yourself, or that when you reach your twilight years, the time will come when you will need some extra care. Long-term care insurance makes sure that you will get the care you need. It helps assure that the cost of your custodial care will not eat up your savings. Finally, and this is one of the best things about LTCI, it can help protect your children and other relatives from having to use their resources to care for you.
Brethren Insurance Services offers Long-Term Care Insurance for all members and employees of the Church of the Brethren and their family and friends; and also for employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities and their families and friends.
If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal or  click here to request more information.