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Making The Most Of Medicare

October 7, 2016 2 Comments

Medicare Vitamins

Medicare Vitamins

I received my giant booklet from the insurance company this week, along with the almost as thick booklet from Medicare itself. I discovered last year when I enrolled that consulting a professional insurance agent is the only way to make an informed decision on this issue without loosing your mind.  To my great delight I was able to clear up a couple of questions I had about the updates on the phone with my agent.  Since I am pleased with my current coverage I don’t need to do anything during open enrollment season.  My agent, Karyn, will check and confirm that my dermatologist will remain in the coverage network.  We can then agree simply over the phone and she will remain my agent. She makes sure the plan works for my best financial interest.  She also acts on my behalf if I ever have conflict with an insurance provider.  Since the data is overwhelming, and the circumstances change each year only a professional can keep current with the latest nuances.  I am in a good mood not only because I have finished the task for the year, but my benefits almost all improved in 2017 for the same low price.  Should I need to use them I will be rewarded with more bang for my buck.

I am happily surprised at the ways Medicare has made me happy during my first year.  The Silver Sneakers benefit was created with me in mind.  I need an excellent gym with a clean locker room at the least, to meet my minimum lifestyle requirements.  I have been happy at the Tucson Racquet Club for years, but now I get both the Racquet Club and the Tucson Jewish Community Center member ships for free.  The JCC is a wonderment of well run health and fitness programs.  The beautiful gym with fast wi-fi and filtered water for your bottle gives me a thrill every time I enter.  I was not miserable at the Racquet Club, but it is a real blast to have the gift of a better designed facility courtesy of Medicare.  For me it is like a won the spa for life sweepstakes.  There are all kinds of Silver Sneakers offers, but you must make sure that your insurance provider is on board with the program.  For my own purposes, this is the most important feature.  Since my company will continue to participate in the program my fabulous free membership will continue uninterrupted.

My over the counter pharmacy benefits will be slightly reduced from $25 a month to $50 each quarter.  If you place no order you will not use your benefits.  I make a game of trying to come out to exactly $25 each month. I use it for vitamins, bandaids, dental floss, and the like.  This also is one of my favorite benefits because they deliver your products by mail, the ultimate convenience.  I keep myself stocked up on these daily use items at no cost.  I may never run out of chapstick and cotton swabs.  The company I use is Humana, but this is not a plug.  It is important to match your own consumer needs with the company’s offer.  Your state may have different features, and they are all subject to change next year.

Good luck to all the Medicare consumers and their families in this wild season.  My best advice is hire a great insurance agent to represent you.  If you live in Tucson I highly recommend the services of Karyn Damshen.  She will remove the mystery from this stressful process.  Once you have a clear understanding of the options she will guide you to the best fit for you.  Her services are paid by the provider, so there is no extra cost to you as her client.  She works for you as an independent agent. This is a big boon to those trying to understand this complicated market.  I hope you all end up happy and well covered for whatever transpires next year.

Tucson JCC

Tucson JCC

Medicare on My Mind

August 25, 2015 3 Comments

Silver Sneakers

Silver Sneakers

I will only pay four more ridiculously high premiums to the Aetna Insurance Company before we break up forever. They are leaving the state at the end of the year, and I will be eligible for Medicare at the same moment. I think I am lucky with that timing. I will not need to learn about anything other than Medicare, but it is a complicated task. I did not change my private insurance policy when the new regulations came into effect because I had only a couple of years left to use it. Now that I have a chance to design and create a plan that may really benefit my health I am pleased.

My investigation started with a referral for a health insurance agent.  My friend’s agent referred me to a Medicare specialist who will see me this week for an initial appointment.  Karyn Damschen is the agent who will walk me through the basics and help me decide on the best plan for my needs.  After a short phone consultation I was happily relieved to know that an impartial independent representative of all insurance companies can advise and guide my choices.  She works for me but is paid a commission by the insurance company whose policy I purchase.  She also is my support for using the system and making the most of tax credits I may deserve.  I probably could navigate the computer system when the policies and pricing become available in November, but the decision is important. My future health care (at least until the market opens again next year) depends on making a wise purchase.  The more I know the better.  I look forward to the guidance of a professional to help me make a wise decision.

Silver Sneakers is a program I plan to use to pay my health club dues.  My club has the program, so in January I will be able to assign my dues to the insurance company of my choice.  This is a gift that goes on giving.  Now that I have paid into the insurance pools for years and extracted no benefits, I am ready to receive something that I value.  There are specialty classes created for the senior set to enjoy in good health.  My club offers Zumba Gold and a senior strength/flexibility class.  I have not participated, but think it is an excellent idea to give special attention to this part of the population.

Zumba Gold

Zumba Gold

If you are eligible soon for Medicare I urge you to find an agent to help you make the best of it.  Who knows, maybe I will see you at the Tucson Racquet Club sometime.  I will be there enjoying my excellent benefits.  I will be in the steam room if you need me.

Healthcare/Wellness/Insurance

October 2, 2013 3 Comments

healthy food

healthy food

The way words are used has a big effect on culture and expectations. The words health care have come to mean prescription drugs and medical procedures. Wellness has come to mean any kind of body work, cleanse, or restrictive diet. What is even more debilitating to the public health is that insurance policies determine the care most people use.  There is abuse on both sides, by wellness quacks and medical losers. Wellness or health coaches are essentially practicing counseling in everything from nutrition to psychiatry.  The unhealthy American population is vulnerable and guilty, willing to jump to all kinds of conclusions, buying into all kinds of cures and programs.  The market is so crowded the consumer has been confused by all the possibilities.  Now the public will need to understand how health insurance functions.  This is a giant leap for the citizens, a shock to the system.

I made a living teaching and promoting health and wellness through water for many years.  I have enjoyed waters and spas all over the world and had the pleasure of teaching many wonderful students.  I have a strong healthy body that I treat to the best food and body work I can afford to give it.  Since I love movement, I move.  I don’t take any prescription drugs; my plan is to avoid them. The reasons I am keeping my insurance policy as it is, and not vexing myself trying to read all the  options are:

  • In two years I will have Medicare, which I do understand well from the parental care I did.
  • My policy allows me to go to any provider I choose
  • If I change I will undergo an unknown medical exam requirement I do not care to do
  • I am satisfied with the service when I do have a transaction with the company
  • I am guaranteed to get a rebate under the new laws because I use far less than 20% of my premium costs each year on covered services.
  • My senior care experience taught me that it is very difficult to know what will and will not be covered; the only way to find out is to need something, then be denied.
  • My senior care duties showed me the many entities out there financially abusing seniors by swindling Medicare.  I am sure this has not improved since my parents died.
  • I am convinced that the shopping on the exchanges will damage my wellbeing.
  • My time is better spent in the pool increasing my core strength and flexibility.
  • Staying away from the crisis in health care is healthy.

Teledoc, Is This Obamacare?

July 5, 2013 4 Comments

House calls
For the first time since I was a child house calls from doctors are available to me. My insurance company just sent me a card to access doctors on the phone for $38 or less per consult. Now they are talking!!!!  They sent me a notice recently to advise me that I may get a rebate under the new health care law, and I need only sit tight and wait for news of said rebate.  Now they sent me cards to allow me to consult doctors without going to a creepy doctor’s office full of cooties.  This is progress.  I have made no attempt to understand how the new laws will work in my case.  I have never taken any prescription drugs, and avoid contact with medical professionals at all costs.  I have received very little in return for my premium payments for the last 12 years. I have no use for most of what they cover.

If this is Obamacare I want more of it.  Nothing makes more sense to me than using our resources much more wisely in the health care business. I set up an account with the insurance company, provide medical history, and then I can request a consult.  I don’t even have to go to  drug store clinic;I just call or Skype.  This is the most rational move I could imagine.  I never trust medical doctors to diagnose correctly, which is essential for a good outcome.  I would be a much happier patient if I had no mandatory wait in a room with a bunch of sick people.  My experiences with my parents’ health care issues left permanent scars on my belief in doctors.  I am very enthusiastic about the idea that Teledoc comes to me on my terms, and if there are pharma salesmen in the house serving tacos to the obese Teledoc office staff I will have no awareness of it.

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