How many people in the U.S. have taken a job they had no passion for, simply because it was their only chance at securing health insurance for themselves and their families? So many people, including myself, have sacrificed their dreams just for basic coverage.

Thankfully, and not a moment too soon, I discovered I could have both. Over 15 years ago, when I was 55 years old, I came across something that would change me both physically and emotionally: a 9-foot grand piano. I gazed at it, played it, examined its finely engineered innards. And from that day on, I devoted my life to it.

Piano tuning is a physical job. Every day, I’m on my hands and knees crawling in and around the instruments, lifting parts that can weigh over fifty pounds. As an older man, I knew the only way I could pursue this new passion would be if I had reliable, affordable health coverage. Unfortunately for ten years, I had the exact opposite – that is until I turned 65, and I was able to sign up for Medicare Advantage, which provides me with peace of mind that if anything happens, I will be protected at an affordable rate.

When the time came to get both of my hips replaced, my Medicare Advantage plan took care of me better than any health care coverage I had ever received or paid for in my life. It covered the hospital stay, physical therapy, and 25 nutritious meals packed in dry ice during my recovery, all with a minimal out-of-pocket expense.

Long before piano tuning, I worked in the insurance industry. As a software developer for Transamerica in the ‘70s, I learned that proactively reducing risk would reduce our expenses and improve our customers’ lives. That’s why I appreciate that my Medicare Advantage plan takes the same approach, focusing on preventative care, so that seniors can enjoy better health for the long run. 

In addition to taking care of me during and after my hip replacement surgery, my plan provides consistent and affordable check-ups as I get older, including telemedicine, which works great. It’s just common sense – preventative care not only keeps seniors healthy, it’s better for the pocketbook in the long run.

Even though we had insurance in Massachusetts, the same provider denied us coverage when we moved to New Mexico in 2016 because they had different underwriting rules. Eventually I resorted to accepting an uninspiring job just to get us insured, and it was miserable. Now, in addition to the routine coverage, I have supplemental care that goes beyond my expectations, like a $75 allowance for over-the-counter medicine, mail order prescriptions, and access to the same primary care physician I’ve had all along. They even sent me a mask at the onset of COVID – a true indicator of the commitment to cost-effective, proactive prevention.

Had I known in my twenties and thirties that I’d be tuning pianos in my sixties and seventies, I would have scoffed at the thought. Because of Medicare Advantage, I can continue to work, doing the job I love, having faith in my health care plan that has supported me.