It’s no secret that being physically active helps improve everyone’s overall health, especially older adults. If you are eligible for Medicare, enrolling in a plan which includes the Silver Sneakers program can help you achieve these fitness goals.
What is Silver Sneakers? Here are the need-to-know details.
What is the Silver Sneakers program?
The American Health Association recommends that seniors aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week.
One way to reach this goal is by joining the Silver Sneakers program, a health and fitness program specifically designed for the elderly. Studies have shown that members have improved health outcomes:
- Silver Sneaker participants improved their physical stamina, strength, flexibility, and balance.
- Those under the Silver Sneakers program have lower healthcare costs compared to non-participants.
So, how do you join the program? What are Silver Sneakers’ membership requirements? Does Medicare cover Silver Sneakers?
Is the Silver Sneakers Program covered under Medicare?
Silver Sneakers is covered by many Medicare Advantage plans and is also covered by some Medicare Supplement (or Medigap) plans but not Original Medicare (Part A and B).
Once you are Medicare-eligible, you have two options:
- Join Original Medicare, which covers Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (medical) and then purchase Medicare Supplement coverage; or
- Get a Medicare Advantage (MA) or Part C plan. These plans also cover Parts A and B but often have added benefits – including vision, dental, hearing, prescription drug coverage, and wellness services.
While Original Medicare doesn’t cover Silver Sneakers or any fitness programs, you may be able to get access to this benefit if you are also enrolled in Medigap plans that cover the Silver Sneakers program.
Fortunately, most Medicare Advantage plans include Silver Sneakers membership. By offering fitness programs, the private insurers that provide Medicare Advantage plans can lower their healthcare costs, given the health benefits associated with improved fitness of members. That is one reason why they can offer zero-premium Part C plans.
If you delayed your Part B enrollment for valid reasons like continuing employment, what is your Silver Sneaker alternative? Inquire about getting the Silver Sneakers program through job-sponsored (or union-sponsored) group retirement plans.
What does the Silver Sneakers program cover?
A Silver Sneakers program membership allows you to:
- Access a network of gyms and fitness centers
- Utilize the gym’s fitness equipment, walking tracks, and other facilities
- Attend exercise classes
- Follow online on-demand workout videos
- Join the Silver Sneakers community to attend health education seminars and other benefits
What is the Silver Sneakers registration process?
First, search for nearby gyms that participate in the Silver Sneakers program.
Then, sign up at the Silver Sneakers website. You will receive a membership card with your ID number. Use this ID to enroll at your chosen gym or join online classes.
What is the Silver Sneakers program offering for swimmers?
If you prefer swimming, this is also covered by your membership in the Silver Sneakers program. Search ‘Silver Sneakers near me with pool’ to get a list of gyms and centers with pool facilities.
How much does the Silver Sneakers program cost?
The Silver Sneakers program is free if you are enrolled in a Medicare plan that covers Silver Sneakers. But remember, gyms vary in their amenities and classes. And not all states offer have the Silver Sneakers program.
What are Silver Sneaker’s exclusions?
Personal training, smoothies, and massage are not covered even if a gym is under the Silver Sneakers program.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is key for seniors to keep their health in good order. Enrolling in a Medicare plan that includes the Silver Sneakers benefit provides access to fitness facilities and equipment that seniors can use to stay active and improve their overall health. If you’re looking for a plan that covers the Silver Sneakers program, feel free to reach out to the CoverRight team to help review your options.