In our current era of what US culture has quantumly mislabeled “health care,” I’ve been paying for insurance for so long I can’t remember. Sometimes the price was reasonable; sometimes it was not. Since I started at Daytona State (formerly Daytona Beach Community College) in 2005, my health insurance has been taken care of through my benefit package. At first, I had to only add my wife, Jennifer, so the annual fee was somewhat “reasonable.” Now, it is the four of us and the costs are astronomical to cover the whole family. Yeah. Like I’m saying something new and insightful. Duh. We all know this and have been locked into the dysfunction for so long most of us have given up the fight and just grumble under our breath and move on with our lives.
This year the college changed plans, again. I had to make a decision. I went to the presentations. I thought deeply about the different plans. On one side was the PPO, which was what I had with the previous company. On the other side was the HMO, which so many people have given me grave warnings about – sometimes to the point of telling me it was a form of Socialism, though I have to admit I don’t think these people really know what the word means. I looked at the plans and decided on the HMO. I did not decide on price necessarily, though the HMO is slightly less expensive. I did not decide because of the doctors on the plan – seems to me these days most physicians practice on prescription pads rather than healthcare or concern. Chemical bandaids for all. Hooray!
No. I did not decide because of these typical factors in the process. I decided on the HMO because it is the first plan that I’ve ever been offered that has a true and functional wellness / fitness plan. In Volusia County, I can go to gyms and other fitness oriented establishments whenever and wherever I want. This sounds great, right? Well, yesterday I tested the system to see if it was all they claimed. To my amazement, it was not smoke and mirrors. There was no hidden cost. No co-pay. Nothing. And guess what? I did not have to go to some rundown dump. I went to Kula Yoga, which is a new yoga studio in Port Orange. When I arrived, all I had to do was give them my member ID, sign in, and sign a waiver. That’s it. I was hopeful, yet skeptical. And so far, the plan delivered.
As for the yoga, it was the first time I’ve ever been to a yoga class. I’ve been using yoga, mainly Surya Namaskara, in my stretching routine for many years, but the cost of going to classes has always been prohibitive. I’ve read some books, watched some videos, and read plenty of articles in magazines, so I know enough to keep up. I wouldn’t say I can “flow,” but I did not embarrass myself either. The class I attended was called YogaLates, and it was labeled “all levels.” The class was, as the name implies, a combination of yoga and Pilates, and I was happily surprised at the intensity and focus on strength. It was also labeled “warm,” which I found to be a bit misleading, as it was down right blazing, so I’m not sure how hot “hot” is a Kula. I was sweating while laying on my mat waiting to start.
Today, as I sit here and write, I am sore. I think the change in muscle groups is a good thing. The instructor started us off with some standard yoga, mainly variations on Surya Namaskara, and transitioned into the Pilates on large balance balls. We mainly worked the core, which I know is a washy term – knees to nipples, as I’ve heard. We did a ton of push-up-style work with thighs, knees, and shins up on the ball and then reversed and worked the lumbar parts of the core. By this point, I had created my own tepid swimming pool on my mat, and I think I sweated out a couple pounds. Overall, a great workout to start my Friday morning. Before the class began, I looked around getting my bearings and wondered why so many of the others had full-size bath towels laid on top of their mats. Well, it only took me about three minutes to figure out that puzzle. Next time, I’ll have one to alleviate water yoga and actually have some grip. For much of the time, it was like trying to do yoga on a greased baking pan.
What does this all say? It says that maybe our culture is beginning to see the benefits of providing wellness care rather than just sickness care (Yes. I know their decision is mainly financial rather than from a sense of personal concern). I plan to use my new benefit and test out other gyms and studios all over the area. I finally feel as if I am getting back some of the tens of thousands of dollars I’ve paid into a long broken system.