The Silver Sneakers program provides gym memberships and fitness classes for people who can receive Medicare benefits. Silver Sneakers is not directly related to Medicare and provides you with additional benefits that can add to your Medicare insurance coverage. Silver Sneakers is only available to those that can receive Medicare — nobody else may use the program. It can be accessed through Medicare Advantage plans, as well as some supplement plans.
Is Silver Sneakers Covered by Medicare?
The simple answer is no, the Silver Sneakers program is not covered by Medicare. Original Medicare contains Parts A and B of Medicare and covers hospital care and outpatient medical expenses. Silver Sneakers is an extra benefit that is offered by Medicare Advantage plans, as well as some supplement plans to add to Original Medicare benefits.
Am I Eligible for Silver Sneakers?
Eligibility for Silver Sneakers is simple. If you are 65 or older, and are eligible for Medicare, then you qualify for the Silver Sneakers program. The only way to actually use the program is by enrolling in a participating Medicare Advantage or Medicare supplement plan.
What Insurance Plans Include Silver Sneakers?
Medicare Advantage Plans
Usually, the Silver Sneakers program will come with a Medicare Advantage plan. Often referred to as Part C of Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans offer a way to use your Medicare benefits through a private insurance company. These plans will always cover hospital and outpatient care. In addition to the primary benefits, these plans usually offer additional benefits, like vision, dental, and hearing aids, as well as extra programs like Silver Sneakers.
Because Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies, there is more variety than with original Medicare. The price and benefits of every Medicare Advantage plan can vary widely. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell in advance if a Medicare Advantage plan will offer Silver Sneakers or another comparable fitness program. However, it is quite common for these plans to offer Silver Sneakers or another similar program, so you should be able to find one locally.
Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance companies. These plans cover fees that your original Medicare doesn’t cover, like coinsurance payments and deductible expenses. These plans also include some medical services like blood work. They will sometimes offer extra perks and benefits as well.
Medicare Supplement Plans usually don’t offer fitness programs like Silver Sneakers. If you want to find supplement plans in your area that offer Silver Sneakers, feel free to get in touch with us to look at your choices. Many people find supplement plans very helpful, so finding a plan in your area that offers extra benefits can make them even better.
Read More: What Medicare Supplement Plan To Choose?
What Does Silver Sneakers Include?
If you are part of the Silver Sneakers program, then you will get unlimited access to all of the gyms that accept Silver Sneakers membership for free. Also, some gyms may offer special fitness classes or services for seniors, which you will be able to use with your membership. Silver Sneakers also has a program, known as FLEX, which offers classes and events outside of the gym, such as swimming, hiking, and yoga.
If you are part of the Silver Sneakers program, you can use it for any eligible services at any time that works for you. For example, you can use Silver Sneakers for pool access if you don’t want to go to the gym. One great benefit of Silver Sneakers is that many of the fitness classes and programs are specifically for senior health needs. This program is one way to make sure that you will always find the help you need.
thumbIf you are looking for a Medicare with Silver Sneakers or other gym benefits, call us at 800-208-4974 so we can review options with you.
How Much Does it Cost?
The Silver Sneakers program is a free extra benefit for Medicare Advantage plans and some Medicare Supplement plans. These plans all have different prices, but Silver Sneakers will never be offered for a fee. The price of these plans can vary a lot depending on your location and other factors, so it is useful to compare them locally.
You can think of the cost of Silver Sneakers and similar programs in two specific ways, aside from the price of the plans. First, Silver Sneakers can save you money on the services you use: gym memberships, classes, and so on. In addition to this, Silver Sneakers and other programs can help to reduce future medical expenses by improving your health and fitness levels. This can result in lower healthcare costs.
Which Gyms Are Included?
There are over 14,000 gyms that accept Silver Sneakers membership. Silversneakers.com, the official website for the Silver Sneakers program, can help you find a gym near you. Though many gyms participate in the Silver Sneakers program, you can find some parts of the country where the program is less active. Make sure to look at your options before you sign up.
Changes in Coverage
Health insurance plans sometimes make changes to their coverage. Although the most common changes have to do with pricing and benefits, additional programs can also be affected. This means that it’s possible for your plan to drop Silver Sneakers benefits entirely.
This does not happen very often, but it is important to be aware of. For example, United Healthcare removed Silver Sneakers coverage in many states in 2018, without giving too much notice in advance. Because of this possibility, make sure that you check up on the details of your benefits from time to time.
Agent TipBecause benefits change, we don’t recommend buying a Medicare plan solely for the gym benefit instead we look closely at the medical coverage to ensure it fits the needs of our clients.
Alternatives to Silver Sneakers
Silver Sneakers is the most popular fitness program for seniors, but there are others as well. The two most popular programs aside from Silver Sneakers are Silver & Fit and Renew Active. Like Silver Sneakers, the availability of these programs will vary.
Silver & Fit offers a few unique benefits. In addition to gym memberships, Silver & Fit also provides you with the equipment and resources that you can use at home whenever it’s convenient for you. This can be especially useful for seniors who live farther away from a participating gym.
Renew Active is a program offered by United Healthcare. It is available through all Medicare Advantage plans offered by them, including their AARP Medicare Advantage plans. Renew Active offers many of the same benefits as Silver Sneakers. You will gain full access to a gym, a one-on-one session with a personal trainer, as well as additional classes and events in your area.
Remember, although these programs are useful, it is usually better to look at the program as a whole. If one of these fitness programs sounds better to you than another, you should not let that be the basis of your choice for a Medicare Advantage plan. Instead, think of these benefits as extra perks that add on to your original coverage.
Interested In Finding a Plan With Gym Benefits?
Fitness programs like Silver Sneakers can be a great way to improve your health. If you want to find a plan that offers the Silver Sneakers program, call us at 800-208-4974. We are independent of any insurance company, so we can help you look at your options to find a plan to fit your needs.
Related Article: Dental and Vision Benefits with Medicare