Health Matters

Given that Medicare can seem like a confusing web of options, it’s no wonder that many consumers rely on licensed professionals for help. In fact, according to a recent study, nearly 20 percent of Medicare seniors worked with a licensed professional last year.

Licensed professionals, also referred to as insurance agents or brokers, undergo hours of training and are required to pass licensing and carrier exams so they have deep knowledge and expertise on Medicare plans.

Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, center, facing camera, hosted a first-ever event for Alameda: a walking town hall meeting last Sunday in Jean Sweeney Park. Ashcraft said she got the idea from a mayor in Alexandria, Va., who hosts “running town halls.” Ashcraft decided the walking version was more her speed, and used the opportunity to speak about topics impacting Alamedans: traffic, pedestrian safety, climate change, rent control, homelessness and more. The small group of Alamedans in attendence included Alameda Sun columnist, Rudy the Dog (and owner John Platt).  

I recently read two books that heightened my awareness of a theme that is important to me. The two books, Uneducated and A Woman is Not a Man, told stories of women who came from backgrounds that encouraged them to not move on in their lives. Both were very intelligent and not supported in their interest in education. And neither was presented options to leave their family environment. 

Many people think enrolling in Medicare is a once-in-a-lifetime event that’s timed with retirement. But such a set-it-and-forget-it attitude about health care coverage options can be a costly mistake.

Each year, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to re-shop their health and drug coverage choices during the annual open enrollment season (now through - Dec. 7) for coverage that begins Jan 1. Unfortunately, few do.

Student leaders at Alameda Science and Techonology Institute (ASTI) held a schoolwide assembly last month to help their peers learn that mental health issues are normal, that talking about them is helpful and that resources are available to discuss them. The student leaders facilitated the process by having their classmates take a quiz.

The quiz helped the students learn about the stigmas that surround mental illness and taught them about symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.