Does Your Health Insurance Provider Offer a Gym Membership Benefit?
by Jim Davies, manager, Franklin Wellness Center

Fitness and socialization motivates older adults to live life well.  Health insurance providers have a vested interest in you staying healthy.  Gym memberships may be part of the extra coverage offered by Medicare Advantage Plans, other Medicare health plans, or Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans.

FRANKLIN WELLNESS CENTER offers Silver Sneakers, Renew Active, and Silver & Fit.   Call your health insurance provider to see if your plan covers gym memberships.

In Iowa,  healthcare plans in 2020 participating with Silver Sneakers are Aetna,  Anthem, Bankers Life, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Care Plus, Clover, Eon Health, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, Medica, Mutual of Omaha, Vitality, and Well Care.

Renew Active is a program offered by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company. 

Silver & Fit is offered by  HealthPartners UnityPoint Health, Moda Health through PERS Health Insurance Plan, Pekin Insurance, and WPS Health Insurance.

The cost of physical inactivity and sedentary behavior is staggering. Some studies indicate that as much as 87.5 percent of all healthcare claims are driven by lifestyle choices. Excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle are even risk factors for one-quarter to one-third of all common cancers in the United States.

Physical activity is a key component to improving and maintaining an individual’s overall well-being. When a person increases physical activity from zero to one time per week to more than three times per week, his or her medical costs can decrease by $2,202 per year.

Renew Active™ is a gold standard in Medicare fitness programs for body and mind. It includes a free gym membership with access to many gyms and fitness locations, thousands of workout videos with Fitbit® Premium, an online brain health program from AARP® Staying Sharp® and more.  Renew Active is available at no additional cost, exclusively from UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Plans.

Silver & Fit is a fitness and healthy aging program designed to help club members achieve better heath through regular exercise.  It is a program offered by American Specialty Health (ASH).   ASH started in 1987 founded as a chiropractic network and management company in Southern California.  Joining a facility, home fitness kits, a resource library, an app and a reward program are available. 

Silver Sneakers is a fitness program for seniors included with many Medicare Advantage plans. Besides gym access, Silver Sneakers offers classes, instructor certifications, a merchandise website, and a blog.   Silver Sneakers is a product of Tivity Heatlh.  Tivity Health was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Franklin, TN. 

SilverSneakers Annual Participant Survey of more than 26,000 members reveals that older Americans are exercising and socializing to improve and maintain their health to lead an active lifestyle as they age. More than 91 percent of members shared that the program has improved their quality of life and 90 percent feel healthier overall, and 94 percent say their health is good, very good or excellent

A study published in the Centers for Disease Control Journal Preventing Chronic Disease found that Silver Sneakers participants incurred $500 less in total healthcare costs during the second year and had fewer hospital admissions in years one and two compared with the control group. More frequent participation was associated with greater cost savings.