Old Guys Get Fit

August 31, 2018

I walked into the T.O. Gold’s Gym a couple of weeks after the new LAFRA Wellness Program went into effect, and everything seemed pretty much the same. As usual, I found the mayor of the gym, Bill Koenig, riding the stationary bike closest to the entrance. From his pedaling perch he monitors the daily comings and goings as he reads the sports sections of every local newspaper.

“Hey, Billy,” I asked. “Are you going to try out any of the other gyms in the area?”

“Nope,” was his curt reply. “I like it here just fine.”

Not so for Carl DeBono. Although Carl has about a year left on his Gold’s contract, he signed up at the Anytime Fitness near his home in Newbury Park.

“I really like Anytime,” he related. “It’s the opposite of Gold’s. It’s always clean and never crowded. They have plenty of equipment: free weights, weight stacks, TRX, you name it.”

DeBono was a little upset with the management at Gold’s though. With the LAFRA Wellness Program footing the bill, he thought he would ask for a refund of his prepaid balance there. Not surprisingly, they declined.

Fred Lopez on the other hand, with an extended membership at LA Fitness in Valencia, was pleasantly surprised when he asked for a refund. LA Fitness plunked $150 back into his bank account and continued his membership through Sharecare. Fred now splits his workouts between the Valencia’s Anytime Fitness and LA Fitness, where he can exercise with his son.

A hundred miles or so down the freeway in Murrieta, Henry Amparan continues to exercise and attend classes at his local gym, which is also part of the Sharecare network. “It was just the motivation that I needed,” says Henry, who takes advantage of the boxing, yoga, and spinning classes to stay in shape for his backpacking and bike trips. He is also an A/C for the Disneyland FD, and plans on joining Gold’s or LA Fitness so he can work out in Anaheim before or after his shifts at the happiest place on earth.

Spending about half the year in Granite Falls, NC, Al Barrios joined Spa Athletic Club in nearby Hickory. He had a little trouble signing up at first, but after the initial hurdle, he got a personal tour of the facility from the owner and is on his way to a new level of wellness. Even his wife Pam is getting into the act and is planning on joining too

Dave Peters, the LAFRA Trustee who could be considered one of the architects of the Wellness Program, now lives near Dallas. He plans on joining a gym one day, but says that he’s attempted to fill out the Well-Being Assessment on Sharecare’s website but never completes it. His excuse, “It’s not like I’m going to go exercise tomorrow!”

How it Works
I’ve heard from a couple of guys who were worried that their fanatical gym use might drive LAFRA into bankruptcy. “If the gym gets paid every time I show up, and I’m showing up six days a week, how can the Medical Plan afford that?”

Thanks for your concern gents, but rest assured, that’s not exactly how it works. LAFRA will remain solvent until you are able to shed those extra pounds and regain your six-pack.

If you really need to know how it works, the Relief negotiates a monthly per member rate with Sharecare. LAFRA pays the same fee per member no matter – no matter if you go the gym once a week, no matter if you go to three different gyms six days a week, and no matter if you never go to any gym at all. The bean counters have worked out all the numbers, and this is a Win, Win, Win, Win situation. The individual gyms win, Sharecare wins, LAFRA wins, and we are the winning beneficiaries of it all.

So, what are you waiting for?
If you haven’t received your letter with your membership card, please call 1-866-936-4243, or contact the Relief Association for help. You can also go to www.lafra.org/wellness for further information such as locating an eligible fitness center near you. See you at the gym!

By Dave Wagner

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