Insurance Update
August 2013
Issue No. 37      
In This Issue
Get a better night's sleep
Save big on health and wellness purchases with Blue365®
Caffeine: controlling your intake
Long-Term Care Insurance
Do you struggle to get a good night's sleep? Read about some possible contributing factors.



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



 An April 2013 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation determined that four in 10 Americans don't know whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is still the law and being implemented, and 49 percent of those surveyed don't know how PPACA will affect them or their family. Do you fall into one of these two categories? Do you need more information about PPACA? Let Brethren Insurance Services assist you with ReformWatch, a new service that offers up-to-date news and information on this sweeping legislation. Click here to review the health care overhaul timeline, check FAQs, look up terminology, read news briefs from reputable sources, and sign up to receive ReformWatch E-Alerts.


If you enjoy the convenience and savings of other email coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social, check out Blue365Like those shopping services, Blue365 will give you access to great deals -- except it focuses on services and products that will help you live a healthy lifestyle. It's only available through Brethren Medical Plan's partner, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. Read more about it below.


How much sleep did you get last night? Was it enough to help you make it through the day? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, but more than a third of U.S. adults report sleeping less than 7 hours per night. If you fall in that category of undersleepers, consider making a behavioral or dietary decision that may help you sleep more. For ideas, check out this month's health guide on the left of this email. It's also worth thinking about one of the techniques you might use to keep your sleepy self awake through the day: caffeine. How is that drug affecting your body, and what can you do to help reduce dependency on it? Find out below.


We're happy to be your health care partner, serving you in your waking and sleeping hours.  

SignaturesScott, Tammy, and Connie 


Save big on health and wellness purchases with Blue365 Blue365 

We want to help you take care of yourself, every day of the year. That's why Brethren Medical Plan's partner, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, offers members access to Blue365, an online destination for health-focused discounts.


With discounts on health-related products, health and fitness clubs, weight-loss programs, and so much more, you can make positive health choices while saving money.

  • Receive discounts; promote your health -- Discounts and offers from national and local health and wellness companies encourage mind and body wellness.
  • Share the health -- Blue365 can make living well a family activity, with deals for gym discounts, well-balanced meal ideas, and more.
  • Be in the know -- After you register, you'll get weekly deals delivered straight to your inbox, helping you focus on your health.
Start enjoying the discounts and deals today. Visit Blue365.

Caffeine: controlling your intakecaffeine 


From coffee and cola to chocolate and tea, caffeine is a very present element in many foods and beverages we consume every day. But have you ever really thought about the effect caffeine has on the human body?


What it is 

Classified as a drug, caffeine is a bitter substance found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, some nuts, and certain medicines. Nine out of 10 Americans consume some form of caffeine regularly. It has many effects on the body's metabolism, including stimulation of the central nervous system. It can make one feel more alert and give a boost of energy.


For most people, the amount of caffeine in two to four cups of coffee a day (200 to 400 mg.) is not harmful. However, too much of it can make one feel restless, anxious, and irritable. It may also prevent a good night's sleep and cause headaches and abnormal heart rhythms. Furthermore, if heavy caffeine use stops, it can cause withdrawal symptoms.


How much is too much? 

Certain circumstances call for reducing the amount of caffeine you consume. If any of these situations apply, you should cut back --

  • You consume unhealthy amounts -- more than 500 to 600 mg. a day.
  • You have caffeine sensitivity. People with smaller body masses, those who do not usually consume caffeine, and those who are overly stressed all will feel the effects of caffeine consumption sooner.
  • You're not sleeping well. Caffeine interferes with the ability to get a good night's sleep.
  • You're taking certain medications. Some medications and supplements negatively interact with caffeine. This includes antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin, bronchodilators such as theophylline, and the dietary supplement ephedra (ma-huang). Ephedra is especially risky when combined with caffeine because it increases the chance of heart attack, stroke, seizure, and even death.

How to curb consumption

Caffeine can be habit-forming, so any attempts to stop or lessen the amount you consume can be challenging. An abrupt decrease can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, and nervousness -- ironically, the same symptoms too much caffeine can cause!

  • Know how much caffeine is in the foods and beverages you consume. You are likely taking in more than you realize.
  • Gradually reduce the amount of caffeine you take in.
  • Replace caffeinated coffee, tea, and soda with their decaffeinated counterparts.
  • When preparing tea, brew for less time. This cuts down on its caffeine content. Or choose herbal teas, which do not contain this stimulant.
  • Check the caffeine content in over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take.
 Long-Term Care InsuranceLTCI

The cost of long-term care is significant no matter where you are in the country -- but costs for in-home care, nursing home care, and other custodial services fluctuate from state to state. To determine how much long-term care might cost in your area, check out this interactive map of the U.S. that shows how much care costs across the country. 


Planning ahead for your medical future could save you in the long run. 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