Published in the Rains County Leader on January 21, 2020:
Every year between October 15 and December 7, Medicare open enrollment rolls around. That’s the period when people who have Medicare coverage can reevaluate and/or change their plans. David has coverage through the VA, so when the helpful reminders from every insurance company known to man begin to arrive in the mail, they end up in my to-do paperwork. I’ve been pretty happy with my carriers, so I usually ignore the pile until the deadline has past and then file it in what Dad used to call File 13.
This year was different, though. My supplement, the plan that covers co-pays and other things Medicare doesn’t pay, went up a few dollars as it does every year due to my advancing age. But my prescription drug coverage that had doubled in the seven years since I became eligible had doubled again in just one year. It was time to do some insurance shopping.
I checked several companies on-line but didn’t find anything better than what I had. I saved USAA for last because I had to contact them by phone. As I expected, especially since it was only a couple of days before the deadline, I was on hold for a while. My call was finally answered by a very nice and very helpful agent, and a couple of hours later I had a new supplement, a new prescription drug plan and had saved a nice chunk of change. As an added bonus, my new plan included Silver and Fit.
Silver and Fit is very much like Silver Sneakers, a benefit that pays for part or all of a gym membership. I’m not sure why all companies don’t offer this benefit – healthier clients mean fewer claims – but nobody asked me. Anyway, we went to Anytime Fitness on Friday where I signed up and toured the facilities. I’m excited to get started, but I don’t like the idea of going by myself – but I won’t have to. In addition to his VA coverage, David has a Medicare Advantage plan for those times when he has a cold and doesn’t want to drive to Bonham. His plan offers Silver Sneakers for a small added premium, so since he now has a workout buddy, he spent an hour on the phone with his insurance company. As soon as his coverage kicks in on February 1, we’re all set to start working on those six-pack abs or at least on walking to the mailbox and back without huffing and puffing.
Now I have only one problem – what to wear! David and I worked out a lot when we were in Florida. The subdivision where we lived had a two-mile stretch of nice, wide sidewalks where we walked six days a week and an exercise room in the clubhouse where we worked out three days a week. I usually wore shorts and a t-shirt, but my legs were tanned, toned, and younger. I gave up shorts when I began spending so much time at the keyboard, and my legs haven’t seen the sun in a decade.
When my son Christian was a kid, I went to Jazzercise classes several days a week with my neighbors. Standard dress was tights (leggings with feet) and a leotard with running shorts for the more modest students. That was when I was a size 6, though. Besides, after going through the twisting and pulling required to get into that kind of outfit, I’d be too tired to work out.
David was no help. He suggested Spandex – that would be worse than tights. So I went to Google and looked up workout clothes for older women. If older women are wearing the skimpy tops and stretchy capris that came up in my search, I’d hate to see what the younger ones wear. And if I looked like the models do with a bare midriff, I wouldn’t need to go to the gym.
As a last resort, I consulted a Facebook group of women who graduated from my high school in the 60s. I asked what the well-dressed septuagenarian wears to the gym. The first response was anything she wants to. I agree – at our age most of us don’t care what other people think of us anyway. Others mentioned leggings and a long t-shirt, but leggings are too much like tights. My favorite suggestion was sweat pants and a big t-shirt. That’s pretty much what I had decided on before I began asking around. It’s comfortable, and it’s what I already have. Maybe if I keep up with my new exercise program, I’ll reward myself with something more stylish.
While we’re waiting to begin, David and I have been talking about goals and cautioning each other not to do too much too soon. We don’t expect miracles, but we do hope to be healthier. And I expect to get a few good columns out of the venture.