SilverSneakers: Better Life and Health for Seniors
Maybe you’ve heard of SilverSneakers before. Or maybe you have older friends on Medicare who benefit from the program. SilverSneakers is the nation’s largest fitness program especially for seniors on Medicare. It promotes the physical, social and mental well being of millions of older Americans. Silver Sneakers members have access to thousands of gyms with free access to weight machines, treadmills, ellipticals, pools, walking tracks, and group exercise classes. SilverSneakers also includes sponsored health education seminars and other fitness-related events. CLICK HERE to find a participating gym in your area.
The Silver Sneakers program was created in 1992 by Mary Swanson. After helping her father recover from a heart attack, Mary was inspired by his commitment to recovery and fitness. She began envisioning a program to improve the health and well-being of seniors. This laid the foundation for the Silver Sneakers program. Mary collaborated with a network of gyms and fitness centers that agreed to provide seniors over the age of 65 access to exercise and quality of life programs. Eventually, Medicare Supplement plans began offering this network as a benefit to their customers. Realizing that improving the health of their customers would ultimately lower health costs for everyone while greatly improving the quality of life for seniors. SilverSneakers grew into a nationwide network of more than 17,000 participating fitness and wellness centers (including many YMCAs) and serves more than 13 million eligible members.
How Do I Qualify for SilverSneakers?
SilverSneakers is not covered under Original Medicare (Part A, and Part B). To qualify for SilverSneakers you need a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) that includes Silver Sneakers. If you are new to Medicare or looking for Medicare Plans that include SilverSneakers, you can find participating health plans here.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) also provides the program. In fact, it is far more common to find SilverSneakers included in Medicare Advantage plans than a Supplement plan.
Does SilverSneakers cost anything?
If you qualify, the basic SilverSneakers program is free. Essentially, it is a program that the insurance company pays for and does not get reimbursed for. This explains why it isn’t offered everywhere. You will get a basic membership at any participating gym. Facilities and amenities vary by location, but typically a Silver Sneakers membership means you have access to cardio equipment, weights, classes, and amenities. For example, pools and walking tracks. It does NOT include extras like smoothies, massages, or personal training. If you choose to arrange and pay for those on your own, you certainly can. CLICK HERE to find a participating gym in your area.
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