Insurance Update
May 2013
Issue No. 34     
In This Issue
Protect Your Smile
Preventing skin cancer
Get smart about your smile
Are your beneficiary designations up-to-date?
Long-Term Care Insurance

Health smile, healthy you. Oral health tips from Delta Dental.


About Us 

Insurance logo 

 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



As we move closer and closer to summer, many of you might be planning to spend more time outside. You might even be looking forward to getting a tan. But before you do, stop and consider the impact that golden hue might have on your long-term skin health. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month --- a time to check in with our sun protection techniques and make sure we're aware of how serious (and preventable!) skin cancer can be. Below you'll find an article instructing you on how best to protect yourself from the kind of cancer that is estimated to kill one in five Americans.

And what about that other part of your body that people see every day --- what are you doing to protect your smile? Brethren Insurance Services' chosen partner in providing Dental insurance, Delta Dental, offers some comprehensive advice on oral health in the guide on the left side of this newsletter. Looking for more targeted advice? Check in to Delta Dental's website and take a quiz about your oral health to get custom feedback about your habits.


Do you know who your beneficiary is for your life insurance, retirement plan, and other financial products and services? Chances are, you do, but it's always good to check in once in a while to ensure that the person designated to be your beneficiary is the person you wish to fill that role. If you've had major life changes recently, it's especially important to review this information. Read below about the importance of verifying your beneficiary.

May each day of spring bring you more sprays of green foliage and more radiant blooms!


SignaturesScott, Tammy, and Connie       

Preventing skin cancer skincancer

Most people like to get a little sun. Its warmth and light can relax us and boost our spirits. But the benefits come with a dangerous tradeoff. Each year more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S., over 90 percent of which are caused by the sun's ultraviolet rays. Similarly, most of the skin damage we associate with aging --- wrinkles, sagging, leathering, and discoloration --- is UVR-related. This damage is cumulative. So, whenever you venture out in the sun, be smart about it. To enjoy what the sun has to offer without risking your health, follow the simple rules below. Some of this advice may seem extreme, but so is the impact of the sun on your skin's health.

Tips to follow before sun exposure

Seek the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

That is when the sun's rays are usually strongest. If you're outside, head under a pavilion roof or leafy tree --- or carry a sun umbrella. And take advantage of early morning and late afternoon hours to indulge in your favorite outdoor activities. Try the beach at sunset, for example, rather than midday.


Do not burn

Even a single sunburn increases your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer; suffering five or more sunburns doubles your lifetime risk. Avoid spending long periods in the sun, and when you see or feel your skin redden, take cover.


Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses

Clothing can be your most effective form of sun protection, so make the most of it with densely woven and bright- or dark- colored fabrics, which offer the best defense. For instance, a thin white T-shirt provides a UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, of about 5, meaning the shirt lets in about one-fifth of the sun's rays. In contrast, blue jeans have a UPF of approximately 1700. The more skin you cover, the better, so choose long sleeves and long pants whenever possible.


Wraparound sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of the sun's UV rays effectively shield both eyes and the surrounding skin, helping prevent serious conditions from cataracts to melanomas of the eye and eyelid. And hats with a brim of three inches or greater offer significant protection for the face and back of the neck.


Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day

A sunscreen's SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures how long unprotected skin can be exposed to the sun's shortwave, ultraviolet B rays before burning, compared with how long it takes to burn without protection. If used correctly, sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would prevent sunburn 15 times longer than if the product weren't used. Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 effectively filters out about 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays, while SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50, 98 percent. These higher SPFs can make a difference for people with skin that always burns rather than tans, people with photosensitive conditions such as lupus, those taking medications that increase photosensitivity, and outdoor sports enthusiasts who spend a lot of time in the sun.


Tips to follow after sun exposure

Examine your skin head-to-toe once every month. Here's how:

  • In a full-length mirror, inspect your skin. Start with your head and face, using a blow dryer to check your scalp.
  • Check hands, including nails. Examine elbows, arms, underarms, torso, and trunk.
  • With your back to the mirror, use a hand mirror to check your back, the back of your neck, and other hard-to-see places.
  • Sitting down, check legs and feet, including soles, heels, toes, and nails. Use the hand mirror to examine genitals.

Look for skin changes of any kind. Cancer warning signs include:

  • a spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed
  • an open sore that does not heal within two weeks  
  • a skin growth, mole, beauty mark or brown spot that ---
    • changes color or appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored.
    • changes in texture.
    • increases in size or thickness.
    • is asymmetrical.
    • is irregular in outline or border.
    • is bigger than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser.
    • appears after age 21.

Excerpted from an article produced by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Get smart about your smilesmile

As a leader in oral health and wellness, Delta Dental of Illinois is pleased to offer access to myDentalScore --- an online tool that will help you assess your oral health risks.


How it works 

Take just a few minutes to answer some simple questions online and you will receive an easy to understand oral health score report that estimates your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Please note that none of your personal health information is ever revealed, and the survey can be taken anonymously.


After completing your assessment, print out your report to bring to your next dental appointment. Share your results with your dentist and, if needed, he or she can help you create a treatment plan focused on improving your oral health and score.


Why it's important 

Oral health problems like periodontal disease and tooth decay are more common than you may think --- and left untreated they can lead to more serious problems, such as tooth loss.


If you know your specific risk factors for tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer, you can take simple preventive action to help avoid these problems. Get a handle on your oral health by taking advantage of this practical health management tool.


Discover your oral health score today at It's a smart way to get wise about your oral health.

Are your beneficiary designations

If you are a participant in Brethren Insurance Services' Life insurance plan, it is important to designate a beneficiary for your policy. Be sure to review your beneficiary designations to ensure that your beneficiary form reflects your current wishes.


Call Connie at 800-746-1505, ext. 366, if you wish to inquire about your current beneficiary designation.


To update your beneficiary designation, click here to access the beneficiary form on Brethren Insurance Services' website, complete the form, and send it to or Brethren Insurance Services, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.


Check in with the administrators of any other products or services you carry that have beneficiaries on a periodic basis to ensure that your estate will be handled according to your wishes. 


Life events can change your beneficiary designations

  • If you get married or have children, you may want to change your primary beneficiary or designate additional contingent beneficiaries.
  • If your spouse was your beneficiary and you get divorced, your former spouse will still be the beneficiary --- divorce does not automatically remove an ex-spouse as beneficiary.
  • If your primary beneficiary predeceases you and you have not named contingent beneficiaries or a new primary beneficiary prior to your death, the life insurance payment process will be delayed and can become complicated.

Even if you don't have big changes, you should review your beneficiary designation periodically. Your beneficiary may not be who you remembered it to be or it may be outdated.

 Long-Term Care InsuranceLTCI

For how much longer can Medicaid handle the influx of long-term care seekers who spend down their financial resources so they qualify for government-paid nursing care? According to a recent article in Money, not very long. Read the article here to learn more about the Affordable Health Care Act and Medicare --- and how those programs might not be able to help you in your later years.


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