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Day in the life: How Medicare keeps you healthy outside the doctor’s office

Color portrait of Karla Pope By Karla Pope

Five years ago, Gloria Warman* was diagnosed with prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, and fatty liver disease, which is caused by a buildup of excess fat in the liver. The diagnoses were a wake-up call. She knew she needed to do something to improve her health. Through regular exercise, she no longer has these conditions. And she’s excited about her new, active lifestyle.

When she became eligible for Medicare, Gloria looked into how her new benefits could help keep her on a healthy path. She learned that Medicare could provide benefits to support her health journey.

For Gloria, that meant things like:

  • A gym membership
  • Opportunities to meet new people
  • Certain over-the-counter items
  • Access to health screenings
  • Transportation to and from doctor’s visits

Note: Many Medicare Advantage plans include these types of benefits. Check your plan to see what’s available to you.

“The benefits of gym membership, transportation and screenings work so well for me,” she says. “They give me the support I need to stay accountable for my overall health, both physically and mentally as I age."

Let’s take a look at how she uses those benefits to keep her mind and body well in between annual primary care visits.

 

Staying active

Gloria’s Medicare Advantage plan comes with the Silver Sneakers® fitness benefit. She uses it to pay for her membership at 30 and Out, an all-women’s gym in her area. “It’s one of the most important things about my health insurance,” she says. Over time, Gloria has developed a fitness regimen. She hits the gym twice a week for a 30-minute circuit training class. As soon as that class is over, she takes a second class that focuses on strength training, flexibility and cardio.

 

Socializing with friends

The twice-weekly classes haven’t just benefitted Gloria’s physical health, they’ve also revved up her social life. And, as research has shown, being socially engaged is good for the mind and body, especially as you age. Her gym buddies help make grueling workouts more enjoyable and have become part of her social network. The women will occasionally meet for lunch at a local deli and often attend community events together. “We’ll gather to do things in my local area and special activities that are held in the park,” she says.

 

Over-the-counter solutions delivered to your door

Time and money are precious resources, and Gloria looks for ways to maximize both. She regularly uses her plan’s over-the-counter benefits, which allow her to have some everyday items like sunblock and cold and allergy medicines delivered to her at no extra cost.

 

Access to health screenings

Aetna Medicare is a HMO, PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Our SNPs also have contracts with State Medicaid programs. Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area.

General health screenings play an important role in detecting and preventing illnesses, chronic diseases and other health problems. Some don’t even require a referral. For Gloria, having access to things like bone density screenings and mammograms has provided a welcome sense of security.

 

 

Getting a lift

When it’s time for Gloria to schedule her annual health assessment with her primary care physician, there’s another health plan benefit she uses: transportation. This service makes it easy for members to get to and from their doctor appointments. “My family doctor is several miles away, and parking is very difficult there,” she explains. “With traffic and everything, it just makes it easier to have a ride."

* Gloria Warman is a real Aetna Medicare member who’s given us permission to use her story.

Aetna Medicare is a HMO, PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Our SNPs also have contracts with State Medicaid programs. Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area.

About the author

Karla Pope is a longtime writer, editor and lifestyle blogger who enjoys exploring New York City with her two young children. When she’s not visiting the many cultural attractions the city has to offer, she’s relaxing at home with her husband. Karla’s also trying to expand her healthy meal plan beyond her daily seafood, rice and veggies.

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