The answer depends on the type of Medicare coverage you choose, where you live and what type of fitness program you’re looking for. Many active seniors are interested in gym memberships, which are covered by some Medicare Advantage and Supplement Medicare Insurance plans.
Here are answers to some common questions about Medicare and gym memberships.
Does Original Medicare Cover Fitness Programs?
Original Medicare Part A and Part B, which covers hospitalization and outpatient medical visits respectively, does not pay for gym memberships. However, in some circumstances, Original Medicare will cover some prescribed treatments related to fitness, including nutritional therapy and physical or occupational therapy.1
Does Medicare Advantage Cover Fitness Programs?
Medicare Advantage plans are administered by private insurers and include Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. They also often offer additional benefits including some dental and vision coverage and, in some cases, gym memberships.2
If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, check to see if your policy covers gym memberships. If you’re signing up for Medicare Advantage during open enrollment or when you first become eligible for Medicare, you can shop for a plan that includes fitness program coverage. You can find this information on the Find a Medicare Plan tool on the government Medicare website.
For the most part, Medicare Advantage gym memberships are provided through special fitness programs geared toward seniors and available through local gyms, fitness chains, YMCAs and other community fitness centers.
Does Supplement Medicare Insurance (Medigap) Cover Fitness Programs?
Yes, some Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, also known as Medigap, offer fitness programs. Check with your Medigap insurer to find out what, if anything is offered under your plan.3
What Is SilverSneakers? What Is Silver & Fit?
SilverSneakers and Silver & Fit are both health and fitness programs designed for adults 65 years and older. Silver Sneakers is offered through more than 17,000 fitness locations nationwide,4 and Silver & Fit has 14,000 plus fitness centers.5
If your Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan includes either program you can find a fitness location near you on silversneakers.com or silverandfit.com. Participants are usually eligible for all of the health clubs facilities and amenities as well as special classes and training sessions designed for seniors.
Both programs also offer extensive home workout programs via video for people without a participating fitness club near them or for those who would rather work out at home. This was especially important during the COVID-19 outbreak, when gyms and fitness clubs were closed and seniors were sheltering at home.
What Is Renew Active?
Renew ActiveTM is the Medicare fitness program United HealthCare offers through its Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Members can join a participating gym, participate in an online brain health program and attend local health and wellness events.6
What Is SeniorPHIT?
This is Aetna’s Personal Health Improvement Training program (PHIT) offered exclusively online. Aetna also covers membership in participating gyms and access to many health and wellness education tools in some of its Medicare Advantage plans.7
How Do You Join?
If your Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan offers a fitness program, the plan should have sent you information on how to access the benefit. If not, simply contact your insurer and ask how to access the fitness program the plan covers. For some programs, you may need to show a card to participating facilities to join classes and use their amenities. In almost all cases, there should be no extra fee and you will have full access to the facility. For home fitness programs, ask your insurer for more information on where to go online for specific sign up instructions.
What If My Insurance Doesn’t Cover Gym Memberships?
Unfortunately you cannot join programs like Silver Sneakers or Silver & Fit if your plan does not offer this benefit. You can join a gym and pay the fee or you can look for a Medicare plan that offers gym coverage during the next open enrollment period.
Active seniors looking to stay fit may consider gym membership an important priority when looking to join a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan.