Staying active and strong can help keep keep us physically and mentally healthy. Having access to a local fitness program, gym, or recreation center can make it easier to start an exercise routine and stick with it. If you have a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan, your health insurance may include a free fitness membership for adults age 65 and older called SilverSneakers.
What is SilverSneakers?
A SilverSneakers membership includes access to roughly 16,000 gym and fitness centers across the country. You’ll get access to fitness equipment, social events, and a variety of exercise classes, including boot camp, circuit training, strength and balance, tai chi, yoga, water aerobics, and Zumba. Some SilverSneakers locations have even more amenities, such as indoor and/or outdoor pools, tennis courts, and walking tracks. The SilverSneakers Flex program takes the workout to local parks, giving members the opportunity to take fitness classes with certified instructors.
Does Medicare Cover Exercise Programs?
When you are eligible for Medicare, you can get your benefits through Original Medicare or through a Medicare Advantage plan. Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, does not include any coverage for a fitness club membership. Many Medicare recipients with Original Medicare supplement their insurance by purchasing a Medigap policy. Medigap policies can help cover some expenses that Medicare does not, including coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. Some Medigap plans will offer ancillary products, such as a fitness club membership.
Medicare recipients who choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan will have at least the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but many MA plans include additional coverage, including the SilverSneakers program. If you are enrolling in Medicare for the first time, compare plans available in your area to find the plan that meets your individual needs.
What does the SilverSneakers program cost?
With a qualifying health insurance plan, a SilverSneakers membership is free. However, any services not included in a basic membership may require additional fees such as personal training, tanning, or a massage.
How do I join SilverSneakers?
SilverSneakers comes automatically with qualifying Medicare health insurance plans. Eligible Medicare beneficiaries 65 years of age and older just need to get a SilverSneakers membership card to show at participating fitness locations. Contact your health insurance plan to find out if SilverSneakers is covered, or visit the SilverSneakers website to check your eligibility online. If you’re eligible, then you can fill out the SilverSneakers form online to get and print your membership ID card to bring to participating locations. Go to SilverSneakers.com and click on “Find Fitness Locations” to search for a gym near you.
Can I join SilverSneakers if my health insurance plan doesn’t provide it?
SilverSneakers is only available to individuals with qualifying health insurance plans. However, if your insurance plan does not cover SilverSneakers, you can still join a gym! Contact the recreational centers and gyms in your area to learn about special pricing for seniors.