Insurance Update
October 2015
Issue No. 61      
In this issue

Destination 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 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, and Medicare supplement coverage for eligible ministers and other employees of congregations, districts, and camps. Dental, vision, retiree life, and Medicare supplement coverage is also available for eligible retirees 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

Fall is here. The trees are in color. Students from kindergarten to grad school are back in the classroom. The air is cool and crisp and bracing. Some people experience fall as the end of something -- the end of the activity, beauty, and richness of summer, of seedtime and harvest. For other people, fall is a beginning -- of the school year, the church year, the fiscal year. Many of us feel renewed energy as we ready ourselves for what lies ahead.
At Brethren Insurance Services, the fall is always a time of beginnings because we offer a month of open enrollment. Read on to see what plans are being offered and how to sign up.
Those of us here at Brethren Insurance Services are interested not only in the good things that come from being properly and carefully insured, but in your broader well-being. This is why each issue of Insurance Update covers something of value to the health of your body, mind, or spirit. This month, we examine something most of us do and love, but may not realize is more than just a pleasant diversion. It actually makes us healthier. Learn more about this in "Travel is Good Medicine."
Please remember that you enter into the beginnings of this fall season with our blessing.
Special one-time Medicare Supplement open enrollment offered in November
If you missed signing up for Medicare Supplement insurance during the six-month enrollment period that immediately follows your Medicare eligibility date, you now have a one-time opportunity to do so.

Anyone who is an active or retired Church of the Brethren employee (as well as Medicare-eligible spouses), age 65 or over, and enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B is eligible to enroll. 
Don't miss the boat: Open enrollment
is Nov. 1-30
What's on the board for products offered by Brethren Insurance Services for 2016?   

Medical: Open enrollment will take place in November for currently enrolled Brethren Medical Plan participants. Specific details will be provided by your human resources representative just prior to open enrollment.
Dental: Choose from one of three dental plan options for you or your family. These plans can cover checkups and other preventive services, as well as fillings, oral surgery, and orthodontia. This coverage is offered in partnership with Delta Dental of Illinois.
Vision: Three plan options are available to you and your family through EyeMed Vision Care. These plans offer various levels of coverage for eye exams, lenses, and frames.
Supplemental Life: This insurance is available to members who already have Life insurance coverage through Brethren Insurance Services. This age-rated product is available for up to $50,000 of additional insurance for those who have not yet reached their maximum benefit amount.
Short-Term Disability: Cover the gap between the onset of disability and the start of Long-Term Disability coverage with Short-Term Disability insurance. This plan will pay up to 60 percent of your salary -- up to $1,250 per week.  

For eligibility requirements specific to your employer, please contact your employer's human resources representative. For general information, visit

*For current Life insurance members who are eligible to add up to $50,000 of additional coverage.

Special note:
BBT has been conducting a study over the past several months to determine whether it is feasible to once again provide meaningful and affordable health coverage for our pastors and church employees. Because this is an ongoing process, this is not an option that is currently a part of the November Open Enrollment. But we continue to explore ways to offer this important benefit in the future amidst the changing nature of healthcare insurance that is occurring within the United States. If, in the future, you receive a questionnaire from us either by mail or email, we encourage you to fill it out and provide as much information as possible, as everyone's input is necessary for BBT to determine whether it should once again offer medical insurance for pastors and church employees.
TravelTravel is good medicine

Almost everyone likes to travel, especially if it's on a vacation, and it certainly seems that everyone does it. But until the middle of the last century, travel for pleasure was the province of the rich. Most middle-class people traveled only when it was necessary for family or financial reasons. In rural and working class culture, vacations were almost unheard of.
Today, according to a fact sheet put out by the U.S. Travel Association, three out of four trips in the U.S. are for leisure purposes. In 2014, U.S. residents logged 1.7 billion "person-trips" for leisure purposes. A "person-trip" is defined as one person away from home overnight or on a day trip 50 miles or more from home. Direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers totaled an estimated $644.9 billion.
Despite the mind-boggling size of those numbers, the reality is probably not surprising. We all know we are a nation of people who love to travel and who do it often. But did you know there is an added benefit? Traveling is good for you! It actually improves your health and lengthens your life!
(Note: This is an article about the benefits of leisure travel, and so the words "travel" and "vacation" are used interchangeably. Almost by definition it's not a vacation unless you "go away somewhere." The studies do not track the connection between business travel and health.)
A long-running study found that women who vacationed often had a lower risk of heart attack or coronary disease than those who seldom vacationed. Another study found that men who did not go on an annual vacation had a 20% higher risk of death and a 30% higher risk of death specifically from heart disease. Still another survey showed that after only one day on vacation, 89% of people were able to leave stress behind and relax.
Dr. Paul Nussbaum, president and founder of the Brain Health Center, Inc., has said, "Because it challenges the brain with new and different experiences and environments, travel is important behavior that promotes brain health and builds brain resilience across the lifespan."
The positive benefits of travel are especially associated with aging. The white paper titled "Destination Healthy Aging: the Physical, Cognitive, and Social Benefits of Travel" concluded, "Mental activity and cognitive stimulation, which can be achieved through various activities associated with travel, have been linked to brain health. Novel and complex stimuli, such as new behaviors and new environments, promote brain health by building brain resilience at the cellular level, thus potentially delaying the onset of degenerative disease."

An online article "The Health Benefits of Traveling for Seniors" put the same insight more concretely, "Activities associated with traveling -- such as touring a museum, navigating through an unfamiliar town, walking along a beach, or immersing in a new culture -- have positive mental, physical, and social benefits for everyone, but especially for older adults."
Complexity and challenge seem to be important. Studies from University College London have shown that the brains of London cab drivers expand to help them navigate their complicated routes through the city. Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) offers various levels of structure in its travel programs. The most popular among "boomer" retirees is the "flex" option which splits each day between planned group activities and independent exploration.
Suppose you are a person who travels to the same place and does the same things? The studies seem to indicate that, "if your goal is to boost brain health, it helps to shake up your routine." Further studies seem to show that group travel, or traveling with family or friends, has positive effect.
Finally, travel seems to strengthen marriage relationships. According to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association, "Couples who travel together are significantly more satisfied with their relationship than couples who do not."
There is something intuitive in all this. We all know that going to new places, connecting with new people, keeping active, finding intellectual and cultural stimulation, doing the walking, hiking, and climbing often associated with travel, and doing all this together will keep us alert and healthy and even young. And it is heartening to know that travel, which once was a luxury or an unpleasant necessity, is now a common and greatly enjoyed blessing.
As Dr. Nussbaum has said, "Travel is good medicine."

If you would like to experience the health benefits of travel while benefitting others as well, you may wish to explore opportunities to travel as a Church of the Brethren volunteer. To find out more information, visit   
9 wonderful benefits of traveling

If there is one piece of advice for experiencing more joy in life, it is to travel more. Make the journey out to somewhere you've never gone before. Make it with an open schedule. Let life show you what opportunities are waiting for you that you could not have even imagined.

Traveling is wonderful in many ways. It captures us. It satisfies our wanderlust and stimulates it further. It has us longing for more destinations to visit, cultures to experience, foods to eat, and people to meet. Here are nine wonderful benefits of traveling.
1. You'll find a new purpose
"To travel is to take a journey into yourself." -- Danny Kaye
Traveling is an amazingly underrated investment in yourself. As you travel, you're exposed to new people, cultures, and lifestyles. You're opened to new insights, ways of seeing the world and living, which might give you new purpose.
2. You'll appreciate your home more
"All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it." -- Samuel Johnson
When you spend time away from home, especially in a place where you don't have the same luxuries readily available, you become more aware and appreciative of the luxuries you have back at home.
3. You'll realize that your home is more than just where you grew up
"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." -- Lin Yutang
The more you travel, the more you realize that your home is so much more than the town, city, state, or country where you've grown up. You realize that your home is the world - this planet - and you become more conscious of how you can harmoniously live and support one another.
4. You'll realize how little you actually knew about the world
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page." -- Saint Augustine
When you travel, you notice that some of the things you've heard about the world are incorrect. Many of the initial myths about traveling itself are dispelled. You may find you can travel more inexpensively than you thought. You may also realize how kind and friendly strangers can be.

5. You'll realize that we all share similar needs
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." -- Mark Twain
As you travel more, you notice that human beings share common needs, and you become better able to relate to people regardless of their background.
6. You'll realize that it's extremely easy to make friends
"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles." -- Tim Cahill
Something magical happens when people are out of their conditioned environment. They become more raw and real. They are more open to expressing themselves without feeling judged. That inspires others to be authentic, and that's how you can become friends with people when you've only known them for a few hours.
7. You'll experience the interconnectedness of humanity
"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." -- Maya Angelou
When you see that you share similar needs, when your perspective on home expands, and when you become friends with people from different backgrounds and cultures, you begin to realize how we are all connected. This is a jump in consciousness. Traveling helps people experience a world-centric consciousness.
8. You'll experience serendipity and synchronicity
"Traveling is one of the easiest ways to become aware of the magic that weaves all of creation together through serendipity and synchronicity with perfect timing." -- Adam Siddiq
Serendipity is the luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for. Synchronicity is the coincidence of events that appear meaningfully related but do not seem to be causally connected. There are deeper connections that seem to indicate that no matter what, the world is here to support you, which leads us to the last benefit of traveling.
9. You'll realize life is a wonderful gift
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain
Life is a wonderful gift. As you travel and experience more of the world and life, you often become overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for all the beautiful moments and people.

Edited and adapted from an online article by Adam Siddiq 
 LTCILong-Term Care Insurance

Travel helps keep you fit and alert, and you may live longer because you do it. But there will be a day when you can no longer leave home, and despite your best efforts, there is always the chance you could suffer a debilitating illness or a disabling accident. And, of course, if you live long enough, 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 assures that your medical bills will not eat up your savings, and it protects 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.