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My Medicare Miracle

January 14, 2016 5 Comments

View from the exercise bike, JCC

View from the exercise bike, JCC

My life has changed dramatically in the last two weeks. I have been looking forward to Medicare because it saves me a significant chunk of cash each month. I shopped and researched wildly, reaching the conclusion that the new Iora Primary Care is right for me.  I am signed up with Humana on a Medicare Advantage plan that costs me nothing and offers benefits I can really use.  I went to my first appointment with Dr Julia Jernberg, my new primary care physician, on Monday.  She is the smartest, coolest doctor I have ever seen.  She gave me a simple practice I can do at home to relieve a chronic pain I have had in the front of my ankle.  She specialized in this orthopedic technique at University of Arizona School of Alternative Medicine. She nailed the diagnosis (always key to success), then taught me how to do my own simple hands on healing.  I find a position of comfort and gently coax my muscle out of trauma for about three minutes at a time, twice a day.  It is ridiculously easy to do, but she cautioned me not to be too zealous and overdo my remedy.  She nailed the zealous diagnosis too.  I have followed her instructions for three days and believe I can feel improvement.  Dr. Julie is truly my dream doctor, a teacher of self care.  She is assisted by the best staff in the most well designed environment.  I could not be more pleased with this fantastic upgrade to my health care.

My Silver Sneakers card arrived in the mail this week too. This card provides free membership privileges to Medicare recipients at health clubs all over the country.  In Tucson many clubs participate in the program, but each one offers a different set of privileges.  I am already a very happy member at Tucson Racquet Club, and have arranged to pay a fee over and above my Silver Sneakers membership (covered by my insurance company). I think it is worth paying $22 a month to be able to attend all the classes at my club.  However, I took my Sneakers card to the newly remodeled Jewish Community Center and was given full membership privileges.  The JCC does not restrict me to Silver Sneakers classes with my special membership.  They offer a wide array of fitness options.  This thrills me, but not as much as the fabulous Zuckerman Family Wellness Center does.  The gym is the feature I use the most at a club.  This one is spacious, modern, well staffed and super clean.  The view from the equipment room is spectacular, and like the Racquet Club, it is situated right on the Rillito River walk.  They have new state of the art equipment and professional trainers.  There is free high-speed WiFi which I used to read some magazines on my iPad while I peddled the new age exercise bike. The bike even has arm rests.

I am highly impressed with the quality of the operation, but my favorite part of the JCC gym is the special needs population.  Some special needs individuals work out independently and some come to the J with care givers who encourage and help them.  I watched a young man who appeared to have Down Syndrome have such a great time on the TRX equipment that he inspires me to try it.  He was so comfortable and happy swinging on the rings and attempting super difficult moves that I decided I can do that too.  I think it is really fun to share the gym with the special population, and it is the first time I have experienced that cool thing.  You just go, JCC!!!

Back to Class-Fall for Fitness

August 30, 2015 3 Comments

Tucson Racquet Club

Tucson Racquet Club

I enjoy my membership at the Tucson Racquet and Fitness Club very much. The facility is open 24 hours and is kept clean by a friendly and competent staff. As a steam room fan I am mighty particular about the cleanliness of our spa. The indoor jacuzzi/steam area is thoroughly cleaned, and the water in the jacuzzi drained and replaced twice a week. I have worked at fancy expensive spas that do not maintain such a level of attention to cleaning spa facilities. The steam room is the only one I have seen with a view of outdoors. The natural light and view of the mountains adds to the pleasant steam experience for me.

The Racquet Club  an open, family oriented place with acres of space for recreation.  The tennis, handball and volleyball teams are active.  Pickleball and even a ping pong table add extra fun for the competitive sport.  Two olympic sized heated pools provide plenty of room for lap swimming and classes at the same time.  The cooler lap pool is shaded from the Arizona sun.  Since I use the private pool at my condo village I have not used the pools very much. In the 7 years I have been a member I have taken two classes. I am happy to do my own thing in the weight room without a set time.  This has suited my lifestyle and may still be my favorite way to use the club.  However, Medicare Advantage, for which I will qualify next year, will give me a Silver Sneakers membership at no cost.  If I want to include all the classes offered I will be charged $22.50 a month.  This is a screaming bargain, but only if I go to class.  The next step in my health care journey is to analyze the cost benefits of taking fitness classes.

This is ironic because I have taken and taught thousands of fitness classes and private lessons.  At one time in my life I spent lots of money and time to seek teaching from accomplished yogis and other master teachers.  I do appreciate the value of good instruction, but I believe I have become jaded and stagnant.  I don’t know exactly why I took such  long break, but I now see many reasons to go back to fitness school this fall.  For the next four months, while I still pay full price for my membership I will take classes at least five days a week in order to establish a habit.  I can only benefit from what I learn during this fall fitness semester of training.  To pick and choose from the wide variety on menu of classes is a luxury I might as well enjoy.  If I find that I like classes attending again the $22.50 monthly fee will be super reasonable in the future. The classes I plan to incorporate into my schedule on the first week are:

  • Postural Fitness- an excellent system based on the work of Pete Igoscue 
  • Pilates- there are two levels of mat classes for me to try
  • Yoga- the club offers 5 kinds of yoga for all kinds of tastes and abilities
  • TRX- I have never tried this popular training method

Do you have a fitness routine, gentle reader? Are you loyal to classes or do you like to mix and match with your own thing?  My investment into trying new classes this fall will be an adventure back to the future for me. Whatever the outcome I am sure the time I spend will be well rewarded.  Health is our only real wealth.

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.

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