The holidays are here and the New Year is around the corner, and we all know what that means – renewed fitness resolutions. You may be one of the millions of Americans that are going to try to make exercise a regular part of your life in 2017. Working out and staying fit is one common New Year’s resolution, but not everyone succeeds at keeping it. The most common reasons people fail to incorporate a healthy fitness routine into their life are money, time and motivation. Maybe you don’t want to add one more expense to your monthly budget. Sometimes it is difficult to find time in your schedule for a workout. Maybe you need some motivation to get to the gym.
Well, here is some good news. You may already have a paid gym membership or fitness program through your Medicare Advantage plan. This just might be the motivation that you need to start, and keep your fitness routine in 2017.
Does my Medicare plan cover a gym membership?
Many of you know the Medicare open enrollment window has just closed. And if you are like many Americans, you likely signed up for, or already have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan in place. What you may not be aware of as you head into the season of New Year’s resolution planning, is that your Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan may already cover your gym membership. While Original Medicare (part A and B) does not cover gym memberships or fitness programs, many Medicare Advantage Insurance plans include them.
Where can I find senior fitness programs covered by Medicare in my area?
There are many gyms and fitness centers that have programs just for seniors. Chances are there is a senior fitness program in your community. Sometimes they have customized classes and programs just for seniors. One program is called SilverSneakers. SilverSneakers is included in many different Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans. If you are enrolled in Medicare Part C, you likely already paid for SilverSneakers when you paid your annual premium.
SilverSneakers is a program designed for seniors who want to increase their fitness level. You can go to any participating gym, use the exercise facilities and take one of many classes geared towards the senior age group. You can also make new friends while you’re improving whole-body wellness: it’s a win-win.
You can go directly to their website and enter your zip code here for a list and map of SilverSneakers programs in your area. Altogether, there are over 11,000 facilities across the U.S. where your SilverSneakers membership is valid.
If SilverSneakers is not in your area, you can call your local fitness center, gym, YMCA, or community center to learn about the programs they offer seniors. Your local experts can tell you what they offer that other seniors in your community enjoy participating in. And if your Medicare program doesn’t cover the cost, most gyms will offer reduced pricing and special plans for senior citizens that need to purchase a membership.
What classes and fitness routines are recommended for senior citizens?
There are many fitness options for senior citizens. Most gyms offer a wide range of class selections including yoga, cardio, circuit training, swimming and more. The exact class offerings will depend on the facility you choose. Seniors are not limited to participating in classes just for seniors. You may find that you enjoy a wide variety of fitness classes such as Zumba (aerobic dancing) or Pilates that are for a wide variety of participants.
If SilverSneakers is not in your area, you can call your local fitness center, gym, YMCA, or community center to learn about programs they offer for seniors. Your local experts can tell you what they offer that other seniors in your community enjoy participating in. Most gyms will offer reduced pricing and special plans for senior citizens that need to purchase a membership.
Are There Any Additional Costs?
There are absolutely zero added costs to use your SilverSneakers benefit. All you have to do is contact the facility of your choice and express an interest in signing up for the program. You can sign up online to get your eligibility card.
What benefits can I expect from a fitness routine?
You can expect to reap a wide variety of benefits from working out. Here are just a few:
- Lowered risk of cardiovascular disease
- Help managing arthritis, diabetes and osteoporosis
- Increased strength and endurance
- Improved balance and flexibility, reducing your risk of a fall
- Reduced stress
- Decreased feelings of depression
Beyond the physical improvements, you will find a new community of friends as well. Working towards fitness goals with an exercise pal can help you maintain motivation and stay on track.
How can I find out if my Medicare plan offers SilverSneakers?
You can talk to one of our friendly team members at My Senior Health Plan to find out.
About the Author
Tamara Blasi is a Senior Insurance Consultant at My Senior Health Plan with over 10 years of experience working in the Senior Insurance industry. Tamara is a passionate advocate for Medicare and Medicare Insurance options.
Her mission is to provide seniors with honest and non-biased insurance comparisons. Her commitment to the wellbeing of her clients drives Tamara to use blogging to help make Medicare and senior health insurance more accessible for all. To learn more about Medicare Open Enrollment, please visit www.myseniorhealthplan.com.