You may have heard of the SilverSneakers fitness program, but maybe you are not quite sure what it is. SilverSneakers is a fitness program aimed specifically at Medicare beneficiaries. It helps these individuals improve and maintain their health and fitness, as well as their social well-being. Enrollment in the program is not difficult, and there are thousands of participating facilities across the country. So, how do you qualify and get signed up for the program? Keep reading as we give you all the details on the SilverSneakers program, including how to qualify, how to sign up, and how much it costs.
What Is The SilverSneakers Program?
The SilverSneakers program is a fitness program designed specifically for Medicare beneficiaries. It is a lifestyle program designed to improve overall health and well-being. Traditionally, the program has provided access to fitness classes at thousands of fitness locations across the country. These classes can include aerobics, Zumba, Tai Chi, water aerobics, and others. All classes are taught by trained instructors, so this program can provide a great fitness benefit.
Membership in the program also provides access to fitness equipment, much like a traditional gym membership. However, the locations that provide these services don’t just include gyms. Other locations, like community centers, senior centers, churches, and other participating locations, provide access to these services for those with a SilverSneakers membership.
Recently, SilverSneakers has expanded its reach beyond physical buildings. They now provide many online offerings to help more people gain access to these beneficial offerings. Many online classes are offered through Zoom, Facebook Live, and other platforms. In some cases, you don’t even need a membership to access some of this content. Much of the content is available as on-demand videos, so you can watch these videos anywhere and anytime you wish. These exercise classes help older adults stay active and improve their overall wellness.
SilverSneakers members not only get access to these aerobics classes, but they also get much more than that at some participating locations. They might even get access to swimming pools, walking tracks, and other amenities that you would expect from a full fitness center. So, how do you get involved with SilverSneakers? Find out in the next section.
SilverSneakers Eligibility Requirements
So, who is eligible for SilverSneakers? First, you must be eligible for Medicare, either through age or disability. To qualify based on age, you need to be at least 65. However, you should know that signing up for Original Medicare will not qualify you for the SilverSneakers benefit. Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B do not cover the SilverSneakers program. To be eligible for SilverSneakers, you must sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare supplement plan that includes the SilverSneakers benefit. Remember the difference between Medigap and Medicare Advantage. Medigap helps cover out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Original Medicare, while Medicare Advantage combines all your Medicare coverage into a single plan.
If you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage health plan or Medigap plan, you can visit SilverSneakers.com to determine whether your plan includes the SilverSneakers fitness membership. Remember that these plans are managed by private insurance companies, and those companies get to set their own rules about their plans. These plans are not required to provide a SilverSneakers membership, so you will need to check each individual plan to determine whether the SilverSneakers benefit is included.
For those who wish to switch to a plan that includes SilverSneakers, you should check the Medicare plan finder tool at Medicare.gov. You can get a list of plans that are available in your area, and you can select the plan that works for your situation based on the total cost of the plan and the benefits provided.
Medicare Advantage Plans That Include SilverSneakers
Selecting the right health insurance plan can sometimes be confusing, especially when there are so many different providers out there today. If you are looking for a healthcare plan that includes SilverSneakers, here are some of the best Medicare Advantage plans that include this benefit.
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Remember that the plans available to you depend on your specific location. Not all plans are available everywhere, and not all plans offered by the insurance companies above include the SilverSneakers benefit. However, many of the plans offered by these companies do include that benefit.
To find the plans available in your area, you should visit the Medicare plan finder tool. This tool allows you to see all the plans available to you so that you can quickly and easily compare them. Some plans might also include other benefits, like vision coverage, dental coverage, a Medicare flex card, and prescription drug coverage.
If you need help selecting the right plan, you should contact a licensed insurance agent in your area. Your agent can help explain the details of the Medicare program, and they can also help you select the right Medicare Part C or Medigap plan for your situation. In some cases, Original Medicare coverage might be the best option for you. In those situations, you might need to sign up for Original Medicare and purchase a separate fitness membership at a gym in your area.
Does Original Medicare Cover SilverSneakers?
The answer is no. Original Medicare does not provide coverage for the SilverSneakers program. You must be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare supplement plan that includes this benefit. Many Part C plans include SilverSneakers at no additional cost, although you should check your specific plan for coverage details.
You may also be wondering if SilverSneakers are covered by Medicaid. In most cases, the answer is no. A gym membership is not something that Medicaid must provide, and most states do not provide this benefit. Since Medicaid coverage details vary between states, you should contact your state’s Medicaid office to determine whether a gym membership is covered in your state.
The Bottom Line
SilverSneakers is a fitness program that aims to improve the fitness level of seniors through fitness classes and gym memberships. Not only does the program help improve your fitness, but it also improves your overall well-being by making you a part of these social fitness classes. There are nearly 15,000 SilverSneakers locations across the country, and you can get access to classes, cardio equipment, fitness equipment, swimming pools, and other amenities at many of these locations. Original Medicare does not include a SilverSneakers membership, so you will need to be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap plan that provides this benefit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Medicare automatically include SilverSneakers?
No, Medicare does not automatically include SilverSneakers. Original Medicare does not cover a SilverSneakers membership. You will need to sign up for a Medicare Part C plan or a Medigap plan that includes SilverSneakers coverage. Many of these plans provide SilverSneakers at no additional cost, but you will need to check your specific plan for details.
Is SilverSneakers an AARP benefit?
No, SilverSneakers is not an AARP benefit. As a matter of fact, most AARP Medicare plans no longer include SilverSneakers. In most cases, this benefit has been replaced by a program called Renew Active. This new program is similar to SilverSneakers, but you will usually have access to more local fitness centers instead of national chains.
Is SilverSneakers being discontinued?
No, there are currently no plans to discontinue the SilverSneakers program. However, some Medicare plans that provided coverage for SilverSneakers no longer provide this benefit. In some cases, the plans provide a new program called Renew Active which is similar to the SilverSneakers program. Many plans still provide coverage for SilverSneakers, and the program does not appear to be going away any time soon.
Is there a cost to join SilverSneakers?
There is no cost to join SilverSneakers as long as you are in a Medicare plan that provides this benefit. However, there are costs associated with additional services beyond the scope of the program. For instance, if you decide to sign up for personal training at your gym, then you would have to pay for that expense. In some cases, you might need to pay extra to receive access to the swimming pool or other amenities at your fitness center.