The Silver Sneakers Medicare fitness program is a very attractive benefit to many beneficiaries. It’s also attractive to many insurance companies that supplement Medicare.
These insurance companies offering Medicare supplement and Advantage plans also know that fitness, wellness and prevention go along way toward reducing claims costs. That’s why some Medicare plans these days have partnerships with fitness programs like Silver Sneakers.
What is Silver Sneakers?
Silver Sneakers is a completely free to use fitness program for Medicare beneficiaries. Seniors across the nation with a Silver Sneakers membership have unlimited access to over 14,000 gym locations where they can participate in healthy physical activity. If the gym accepts Silver Sneakers membership, you are able to exercise at their facility completely free.
There are some gyms that even hold Silver Sneakers fitness classes. These are exclusive to Silver Sneakers members, so you won’t have to worry about showing up the twenty-three-year-old next to you. (We know your moves are better!)
Don’t like the gym? Don’t worry, Silver Sneakers has a program called FLEX. Fitness classes with FLEX are held outside of the gym in places like parks, community centers, and churches. These classes have options that are alternatives to your typical visit to the gym. You can attend classes for all kinds of options such as hiking, swimming, and yoga.
You can visit the Silver Sneakers website to find FLEX activities near you.
Lastly, we should also mention that Silver Sneakers sometimes offers invitations to members to attend health seminars and other wellness-related vents. The program places high value on being a friendly community that motivates members. They want you to become involved to reap those benefits.
Does Medicare Cover Silver Sneakers?
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not include the Silver Sneakers fitness program. The only way you can receive a Silver Sneakers membership is if you apply and enroll in either a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Supplement plan that offers a Silver Sneakers membership along with the plan.
Medicare Advantage plans are private Medicare plans that pay instead of your Original Medicare. Part C Advantage plans are allowed by Medicare to include extra benefits, like dental, vision, hearing services and membership in Silver Sneakers or similar gym programs.
While most of the plans that include Silver Sneakers are Medicare Advantage plans, there are also a few Medicare Supplement plans with Silver Sneakers Medicare memberships included.
Whether or not your plan includes a Silver Sneakers membership depends on the insurance carrier you have your plan through and the specific plan in which you are enrolled. Be aware that if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Silver Sneakers, your plan’s benefits can change from year to year. You should review your Annual Notice of Change letter every fall to confirm that your plan will continue to offer the gym membership in the upcoming year.
Which Insurance Plans Include Silver Sneakers?
Your eligibility for a free Silver Sneakers membership depends on the Medicare plan you choose to enroll in. There are multiple insurance carriers that provide Silver Sneakers memberships to their clients in some of their plan offerings.
Members can choose to use their Silver Sneakers at various gyms in the network, which have often included YMCA, Anytime Fitness, Snap Fitness and others. Whenever you use your membership, Silver Sneakers reimburses gyms for each of your visits up to a certain limit each month.
Several of the carriers that we represent here at Boomer Benefits offer plans that include Silver Sneakers. Keep in mind that this membership will not be part of every plan that an insurance company offers though. For example, many Humana plans include Silver Sneakers but not all of them.
If a membership is important to you, be sure to ask our representative about this when you call in. We can help you find a plan that includes the Silver Sneakers Medicare membership.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- United Healthcare
Be aware that some carriers have smaller companies within them (subsidiaries) that also include Silver Sneakers as a benefit. This means that there are other companies within a few of the carriers listed above that may include Silver Sneakers.
It’s important to mention that currently Wyoming does not have any available Silver Sneakers Medicare plans.
A Major Update to Silver Sneakers
United Healthcare has announced that in 2019 it will be dropping the Silver Sneakers benefits from their Medicare supplements in a number of states. This could mean additional states will follow. This is why we always suggest that you never choose your Medicare plan SOLELY because it offers a gym benefit. These benefits are subject to change and could leave you disappointed.
Find the Medicare plan that you feel will do the best job and most competitive price for taking care of your HEALTHCARE NEEDS. You should buy your plan based on how it will cover you for chronic illnesses or cancer – the things that health insurance is intended for – not for if it gives you free or discounted access to your local YMCA or Anytime Fitness.
Silver Sneakers Eligibility
While joining a plan that offers Silver Sneakers is the first step toward eligibility for this amazing senior workout program, you should always choose your Medicare plan based on medical benefits. For example, you don’t want to get so excited about the gym membership that you forget to check whether your important doctors participate in the Silver Sneakers Medicare plan that you are considering.
When enrolling into any Medicare Advantage plan, you want to first be certain that your doctors are in the plan’s network and that your medications are listed in the plan’s drug formulary. A free gym membership won’t save you much if you join a plan that doesn’t cover half of your medications.
Is Having a Silver Sneakers Membership Important to You?
Are you looking forward to being able to have a free gym membership when you turn 65? You will need to make sure that you pick a plan that meet both your medical and fitness needs.