Insurance Update
January 2013
Issue No. 30 
In This Issue
What's on your plate may help save your sight
Meet your fitness goals with discounted exercise and nutrition programs
Vision care: glaucoma
Long-Term Care Insurance

 What's on your plate may help save your sight

The foods you eat can help you preserve your vision. Read which foods are excellent for eyes!


About Us 

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 A not-for-profit ministry of
Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.

Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides ancillary coverage for ministers and other employees of congregations, districts, and camps.
Medical and ancillary plans are 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



Who doesn't love a fresh start? With each new year, we get a new opportunity to try new things, revisit our goals, and make some new objectives.


One frequently announced mission at the start of the new year is to get fit --- lose weight, eat more healthfully, and create a lasting fitness routine. Thanks to the new partnership Brethren Insurance Services has with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, you can get discounted gym memberships, nutrition program memberships, and more! Read about two of these programs in the article below. 


Here's one goal for 2013 you might not have thought of: keeping an eye on your optical health. January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which means that you are encouraged to start the year off thinking about how to avoid eye health problems like glaucoma, a family of eye diseases that can lead to blindness. Learn more in the article below. 


Why not merge your goals of eating healthfully and improving your ocular health? This month's guide (you'll see it in the column to the left) offers some foods that are good for your eyes as well as the rest of your body.


May your 2013 be filled with good health --- in mind, body, and spirit!


SignaturesScott, Tammy, and Connie       

Meet your fitness goals with discounted exercise and nutrition programs

SADFitness can be easy, fun and affordable. Well onTarget makes it possible with the Fitness Program. The Fitness Program opens the door to a network of more than 8,000 fitness centers for only $25 per month! Available exclusively to members and their covered dependents (age 18 and older), the Fitness Program provides -Exercise-- 

  • Flexible membership, no long-term contract required. Enroll  for a one-time fee of $25 and $25 per member per month.*
  • Unlimited access to a nationwide network of more than 8,000 participating fitness centers.
  • Online fitness center locator and views of your fitness center visits online.
  • Easy online enrollment; automatic monthly payment withdrawal.


Are you ready for fitness? Enroll today by calling 888-762-BLUE (2583) toll-free, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., in any continental U.S. time zone. 


To find participating fitness centers near you, visit and log in to your account (or create a user name and ID by clicking on "Log In" in the upper right corner of the screen, clicking on the "Register Now" link, and completing the simple form). Once you have logged in, click on the "Fitness Program" link on the far right side of the screen. You will be taken to a page that allows you to enter your ZIP code and search for participating centers near you.


Diet program discount also available 

Do you need help maintaining a nutritious diet? Let Jenny help. Through your membership with Brethren Insurance Services and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, you can get a discount for many other fitness-focused programs, such as Jenny Craig.


Jenny Craig can help you reach your weight loss goals. You will get one-on-one support given by a trained weight loss expert. Your consultant will give you a tailored program based on the essential components of successful weight management: food, body, mind. You can meet with your consultant in person at a local center. Or you can enjoy the ease of the Jenny Craig At Home program.  


Call 877-JENNY70 (877-536-6970) to get started, and make sure to mention that you are a BCBSIL member.  

Vision care: glaucoma 

GlaucomaGlaucoma leads to blindness by damaging the optic nerve. Elevated pressure in the eye is a risk factor, but even people with normal pressure can lose vision to glaucoma.


Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.


Adult glaucoma falls into two categories --- open angle and closed angle. This is marked by an increase of intraocular pressure, or pressure inside the eye. When optic nerve damage occurs despite normal IOP, it is called normal tension glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma refers to any case in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.


Signs and Symptoms

In the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms. Glaucoma is painless, and patients do not realize they are losing their vision until the later stages, when the damage is irreversible. 


When symptoms do appear, usually after the disease has progressed, they are in the form of --- 

  • Loss of side (peripheral) vision
  • Difficulty focusing on close-up words
  • Seeing colored rings or halos around lights
  • Headaches and eye pain
  • Frequent changes of corrective lens prescriptions
  • Difficulty adjusting eyes to the dark


Risk Factors

Anyone can get glaucoma, but some people have a greater risk of developing the condition, including ---

  • People over age 40 who have not had regular eye exams
  • Anyone over the age of 60
  • People with family histories of glaucoma
  • Those with abnormally high intraocular pressure
  • People of African descent, especially those over the age of 40
  • Diabetics
  • Those with myopia (nearsightedness)
  • People who have undergone long-term steroid or cortisone use
  • People with previous eye injuries


Prevention and Treatment

There is no cure for glaucoma yet. However, medication or surgery can slow or prevent continued vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma as well as other factors. Early detection is vital to stopping the progression of the disease. Be sure to get regular eye exams (every two years until age 60, and annually from age 60 on).


Did You Know ... ?

While over 2.2 million Americans are estimated to have glaucoma, fewer than half of those individuals know they have it.


This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional. 2007-2010, 2012 Zywave Inc. All rights reserved.

 Long-Term Care InsuranceLTCI

How confident are you in your long-term health? A 2007 study of adults 65 and older revealed that 30 percent of them had three or more chronic diseases. Will your health hold up, or will you one day need long-term care?


We offer Long-Term Care Insurance to all Church of the Brethren employees and members, as well as 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