Insurance Update
March 2013
Issue No. 32   
In This Issue
National Kidney Month
Chronic kidney disease: early detection is vital.
Six tips for diabetes prevention.
Adult wellness guidelines: Making preventive care a priority.
Long-Term Care Insurance

What is kidney disease and are you at risk? 


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



When was the last time you thought about your kidneys? If it's been awhile, March might be the right month to consider the health of the organs that filter 200 liters of your blood every day. March is National Kidney Month, and to kick off a time of awareness, Brethren Insurance Services has included a health guide about kidney disease on the left side of this newsletter, as well as two articles below to help you understand the risks of kidney disease and how to avoid developing diabetes.You can also visit  this month to find out how to get a free kidney screening, take a kidney disease risk survey, and have questions answered by medical professionals.


The best way to keep your kidneys --- and the rest of your body --- healthy is by following through on recommended preventive health measures, such as screenings, medical checkups, and immunizations. Check out the article and PDF below to learn about the suggested health measures you should take based on your age and gender.


Have you heard the news? Long-term care insurance rates are slated to increase for women this year --- by as much as 40 percent over men's rates. Consider getting a quote for LTCI through Brethren Insurance Services today. Read more below.


We're here to help you think about your health --- from the wellness of one cell to the well-being of your whole body. Thanks for letting us walk with you through that process.


SignaturesScott, Tammy, and Connie       

Chronic kidney disease: early detection is vitalCKD

Chronic kidney disease affects 26 million Americans, according to the National Kidney Foundation --- and millions of others are at increased risk. Early detection can prevent kidney failure and other serious health issues.


What is CKD?

CKD is the slow loss of kidney function over a length of time. This disease lowers the kidneys' ability to remove waste from the body and perform other vital functions. It can lead to complications such as high blood pressure, anemia, nerve damage, heart disease, and kidney failure.



Symptoms of CKD include ---

  • Fatigue; lower energy.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Swollen feet or ankles.
  • Puffiness around the eyes.
  • Dry, itchy skin.
  • Need to urinate more often, especially at night.
  • Headaches.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Bone pain.
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.

Detecting CKD

Most people will not have serious symptoms until advanced stages of CKD; therefore, it is extremely important to test for the disease to diagnose it early. CKD can be detected with a blood pressure screening and a urine test to detect kidney damage.


Risk factors

Though anyone can get CKD at any age, some have an increased risk for this disease, including those who ---

  • have diabetes.
  • have high blood pressure.
  • have a family history of kidney issues.
  • are 65 years of age or older.
  • are of African-American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, or Native American descent.
Treatment and prognosis

Though there is no cure for CKD, there are options to help the patient control the disease. One significant treatment path is controlling blood pressure, which is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the country, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Controlling cholesterol, eating nutritiously and getting exercise, not smoking, and sometimes taking medication or vitamins are also significant methods for managing CKD. A doctor will recommend a treatment plan depending on each individual's experience of CKD.


This article refers to information provided by The Plexus Groupe LLC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Kidney Foundation.

Six tips for diabetes preventionPrevention

Diabetes can be dangerous to your kidneys. It can cause your kidneys to break down and become unable to filter out waste products. Fortunately, you might have the ability to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Even if you display signs of prediabetes, a few key lifestyle changes can greatly improve your chances of avoiding the disease.


1.   Know your risks 

It is estimated that 85 percent of Americans with prediabetes are unaware of their current condition. It is important that you talk to your doctor about your family history and other potential warning signs of diabetes.


2.   Manage your weight

While diabetes can affect people of any weight, obesity plays a major factor in the development of the disease. By reducing your body weight by only 5 percent, you can cut your chance of developing diabetes by more than half.


3.   Get more exercise

Not only does regular exercise help manage body weight, it also encourages heart health and helps the body manage blood sugar levels.


4.   Stick to a healthy diet

In partnership with exercise, healthy eating is essential to losing excess weight. Focus on making healthy food choices every day by controlling portion size and eating a balanced diet of leafy greens, fruits, fish, and lean meats.  


5.   Choose whole grains

Recent studies have shown that choosing whole grains over refined alternatives may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, because their nutrients release slowly into the blood steam, helping your body naturally manage blood sugar levels.


6.   Monitor carbohydrate intake

Carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels, and high blood sugar levels can increase risk for diabetes. By controlling your carbohydrate intake, you can keep your blood sugar levels under control.


This article provided by The Plexus Groupe LLC. 

wellnessAdult wellness guidelines: Making preventive care a priority


Beyond the basic steps that are important to take for maintaining good physical health --- eating well, exercising, and avoiding smoking, for example --- there are screenings and immunizations that adults should consider pursuing. Click here to review a list of recommended tests and procedures that adults should review with their doctors. 

 Long-Term Care InsuranceLTCI


Big changes in LTCI pricing are on the horizon, for women in particular. Genworth, the nation's largest LTCI provider, has announced plans to charge female enrollees as much as 40 percent more than male enrollees beginning in 2013.  


Why the increase? Women tend to live longer and have an increased chance of not having caregivers in their lives when they need one, so they are statistically more likely to use their LTCI benefit. In fact, women receive two out of every three benefit dollars from LTCI policies.  


Ladies, think about enrolling in LTCI now --- before premium rates increase and the cost makes it difficult to maintain coverage.


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