I was sitting outside an Ala Moana Hotel meeting room texting on my phone. Suddenly, I looked up. I had no idea where I was. I realized I was actually lying on the floor and looking at the walls and ceiling. Sweat seemed to be pouring down my face. I reached up to wiped the perspiration, only to discover it was blood. Soon a physical therapist appeared, asking me to follow his finger with my eyes. He asked me to raise my hands above my head, then to smile. He said I didn’t have a stroke or heart attack.
One year ago, I made a lifestyle change. I went from a vegan diet to pescatarian diet. After adding fish over a year ago, I lost a few pounds. Then my wife and I decided to go on the keto diet together. I also started an exercise program. Seniors must exercise to stay physically and mentally fit to help prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Seniors also need to prepare financially.
If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for help paying some healthcare and prescription drug costs. Fifty-two percent of seniors in Hawai‘i qualify for the Medicare Extra Help program.
Have you found the right Medicare plan yet? If so, stay with it. If not, you can enroll, disenroll, or change plans from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 during the Medicare Annual Election Period. Every year, plan features and prescription coverage change, so you should practice due diligence to discover what fits your current needs best.
Hawai‘i has 268,000 Medicare beneficiaries in 2019 — nearly 19 percent of the state’s total population. About 45 percent of Hawai‘i’s beneficiaries select Medicare Advantage plans. The remaining 55 percent are covered under Original Medicare. Every year during Medicare’s Annual Election Period, Medicare beneficiaries can add, drop or switch plans. Medicare health plans and prescription drug plans can change in cost, coverage and services every year, so look at your plan’s coverage for 2020 and compare it with other plans.
Seniors not only have to exercise and stay physically and mentally fit; they also need to make their money last longer. Social Security, regular investments (stocks, mutual funds) and retirement plans (401k, IRA) now have to account for an extended life span.