October 2020
Issue No. 119

Here we are in October, the eighth month of the COVID reality (if you count March), and we don’t see an end in sight.

So why are we focusing on massage when in this socially distanced world, you may be reluctant to receive a massage? We think this is a therapy you should consider even if you are not ready to risk it now. But if you decide to go to a massage therapist, see the end of this letter for the precaution you will need to take.

When we explain that “Massage is not just a luxury,” we are detailing the many benefits of massage therapy — medical, physical, and emotional. But did you know there are many different kinds of massage? In this issue you can read a short description of these, to give you an idea of which kind you might need or prefer, and what to expect from each.

Did you realize that Open Enrollment time — Nov. 1-30 — is here again? To help you decide if you need to add or change any insurance products, you will find in this issue a complete list of everything offered by Brethren Insurance Services. If you are employed by a Church of the Brethren congregation, camp, district, retirement community, or other Church of the Brethren-affiliated organization, your employer may offer some or all of these products. You can get more information from your HR Department or Connie Sandman at Brethren Insurance Services. Please contact Connie at 1-800-746-1505, ext. 3366 or insurance@cobbt.org. If you are not a client of Brethren Insurance Services, please use this list as a reminder of the products you might discuss with your own insurance agent.

As we move through this unusual year, we continue to include news on the coronavirus that we hope is helpful, even if, as in this month’s article, it is simply to report that, based on reporting from the New York Times, it looks to still be a long while before we have a safe and successful vaccine. But maybe our humor section, with a couple of massage-related cartoons, will make you chuckle.

So, back to the question of how to safely have massage treatment in this time of COVID. If you decide to go to a massage therapist, wear a mask and be sure your therapist wears one too. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. Be sure you are comfortable that your therapist has thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the massage table and room before your massage. The therapist should wash his/her hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer. You may even request that they wear gloves. Cooperate fully with any special requests, such as filling out an online intake form or having your temperature taken. Best practice is for client appointments to be staggered so they come one by one, and if more than one person is in the waiting room, it should be arranged to allow for proper distancing.

The leaves have already begun to change across much of our country, and we all will be moving toward the heart of fall and its holidays. What will it be like to celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving in this COVID time? May you find creative ways to stay connected to the ones you love. May you remember that a virus cannot destroy goodness and joy. May you find the best in yourself and others as you navigate this pandemic. Blessings to you all.
Open Enrollment is coming soon -
Nov. 1-30

Open Enrollment is when you can enroll in new insurance products or update your present coverage without medical underwriting. This means you will be guaranteed coverage for the plan offered by your employer. For certain products, members who enroll late and need to go through underwriting run the risk that one of our carriers could decline coverage, also making them ineligible for coverage in the future. If you are employed by a church, a camp, or a district office, contact Connie Sandman, Brethren Insurance Services, at 1-800-746-1505 or insurance@cobbt.org. If you work for a retirement community or other church agency, contact your HR department.

Massage is not just a luxury

Some people think getting a massage is just a nice self-indulgence, something to pamper yourself. But here’s what the Mayo Clinic says: “Brush aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. To the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being.” Massage is part of what is called complementary or integrative medicine, and it is not uncommon for it to be offered along with standard medical treatment and pain management.

Kinds of massage

Swedish massage

This is a gentle full-body massage, lasting 60 to 90 minutes. The therapist uses a kneading motion of long, flowing strokes and deep circular motions. This is a good option for people who are new to massage, who want to relieve tension and fully relax.

Hot stone massage

This is similar to Swedish massage, but massage therapists use heated stones in addition to their hands. Usually lasting 90 minutes, it eases muscle tension, improves blood flow, and alleviates pain.

Therapeutic massage is an insurance benefit

An increasing trend in recent years has been for medical insurance companies to cover procedures in the category of complementary medicine — treatments previously not thought to be part of traditional medicine. One of these is therapeutic massage, a benefit offered as part of the Brethren Medical Plan.

Therapeutic massage requires the recommendation or prescription of a physician or physical therapist. It would not be a covered benefit if you simply called and made an appointment on your own. However, with a physician prescription for the treatment, fees and copays would be handled as with other doctor visits, and out-of-pocket costs would count toward your deductible.

If you are not a member of the Brethren Medical Plan, you may wish to see if your medical insurance offers therapeutic massage as a complementary medicine option for you.

If you have questions, contact Jeremiah Thompson at 800-746-1505 ext. 3368, or jthompson@cobbt.org.

Tracking Coronavirus Vaccines

Vaccines take years to develop, but scientists are racing to produce a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19. According to the New York Times, “Researchers are testing 48 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and at least 89 preclinical vaccines are under active investigations in animals.”

Here is a report on some of those vaccines —

Further, the Times is tracking 22 drugs and treatments
for effectiveness and safety.

1 drug is FDA approved

  • Remdesivir (also in the “promising” category) is approved for treatment of the disease, but research seems to indicate it may offer only limited benefit.

2 treatments are being widely used

  • Prone positioning on the stomach which opens up the lungs

  • Ventilators and other respiratory devices, as well as oxygen machines

2 drugs show promising evidence

  • The drug remdesivir, though FDA approved, is still in the “promising” category. It interferes with the creation of new viruses, reduces recovery time, and does not affect mortality.

  • Dexamethasone tamps down inflammation and reduces deaths by one-third of patients on ventilators and one-fifths of those on oxygen. Less likely to help and may even hurt those in the early stage of the COVID-19 infection.

13 drugs show tentative or mixed evidence

2 of the drugs are not promising

3 treatments are shown to be pseudoscience or fraud

The Times article observes, “There is no cure yet for COVID-19. And even the most promising treatments to date only help certain groups of patients and await validation from further trials. The FDA has not fully licensed any treatment specifically for the coronavirus. Although it has granted emergency use authorization to some treatments, their effectiveness against COVID-19 has yet to be demonstrated in large-scale, randomized clinical trials.”

LOL - Massage humor
For your long-term care needs
Brethren Insurance Services offers Long-Term Care Insurance all through the year.
If you're interested in purchasing coverage, you should know that eligibility for benefits is determined by the inability to meet at least two of these six activities of daily livingbathing, eating, dressing, toileting, continence, or transferring. Cognitive impairment can also trigger benefits.
It's difficult to think about the fact that a debilitating condition or a disabling injury might leave you unable to care for yourself, or that when you reach your twilight years, 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 helps assure that the cost of your custodial care will not eat up your savings. Finally, and this is one of the best things about LTCI, it can help protect 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 insurance@cobbt.org or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal.

About us
Insurance Logo
Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides the following products - dental, vision, basic life and accidental death & dismemberment, supplemental life and AD&D, dependent life and AD&D, long-term disability, short-term disability, accident insurance, and Medicare supplement for eligible Church of the Brethren employees.
Dental, vision, and Medicare supplement coverage may also be available for eligible retired Church of the Brethren employees.
For eligibility information, call Connie Sandman at 800-746-1505, ext. 3366, or contact your human resources representative.
Medical and ancillary plans (named above) may be 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.  
A not-for-profit ministry of
Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.

Contact Us 
1505 Dundee Ave
Elgin, IL 60120