The Medicare Benefit You Didn’t Know About

Silver Sneakers, Medicare benefit, TMA Blog

What if we told you there are gym memberships that could cost you nothing? What if you could choose between working out in a gym or at a location more comfortable to you? What if you could lower your life insurance premium by maintaining an active lifestyle through this free program? All this and more is possible when you realize the Silver Sneakers program is the free Medicare benefit you didn’t know about.

What is the Silver Sneakers program?

Silver Sneakers is designed to encourage people 65 or older to participate in a health and fitness activity. These activities have been proven to increase physical, mental, and emotional health.

What are some of the benefits from the Silver Sneakers Program?

Health Benefits: The main purpose of this program is to earn physical wellness benefits. Some might question, “Aren’t the courses offered just boring and standardized?” The answer to this is a resounding “no”, because Silver Sneakers offers such a wide variety of courses. You can start off by choosing standard stability classes that can strengthen ankle, knee and hip joints. Then to liven it up, you can join fun courses like yoga, Latin Dance, and so much more.  

Financial Benefits:  Aside the fact this this program is entirely free, joining can also prove to Life Insurance agencies that you have maintained your health in a good condition by participating in physical activities. This in turn could potentially reduce the price of your premium.

Social Benefits: This program also provides the opportunity to meet people or friends to build your social networks. Many of you are retired or are planning on retiring soon, meaning social opportunities may be on the decline. Silver Sneakers can help you to stay social with people your own age as well as avoid those retirement blues. If you are hesitating to join this program because meeting strangers and exercising doesn’t seem appealing, there are other reasons this could benefit you. Many seniors volunteer to help their local communities through social events that Silver Sneakers holds. Volunteering is a great way to become acquainted with those in the community.

Time Benefits: Silver Sneakers gives you unlimited access to 16,000+ gyms or fitness facilities throughout all the states nationwide. Still uncertain because the idea of finding a gym near you seems time consuming? Well, imagine being able to work out at the very same recreation centers, churches, or senior communities where you already spend time! Silver Sneakers includes the FLEX network which allows members to join classes at all sorts of convenient locations, saving you major amounts of time trying to find the nearest participating facility.

Does your Medicare plan cover the Silver Sneakers Program?

Unfortunately, Original Medicare (Parts A&B) does not cover this program, nor does Part D. So, which Medicare Plans cover the Silver Sneakers program? If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medigap Plan, you could be eligible for this program. If you’re not sure whether your plan includes this benefit or not, we can offer you a free Health Insurance Review. Just contact a licensed representative today!

If you’re certain that your Medicare plan doesn’t cover this program, or you don’t have a Medicare plan yet, here are your options:

a. Your Medicare plan doesn’t cover this program:

If your plan doesn’t come with access to the Silver Sneakers program, you can elect to switch plans during the *AEP (Annual Election Period) or the **OEP (Open Enrollment Period).

If you find yourself under certain circumstances, you can possibly qualify for the ***SEP (Special Enrollment Period) and enroll in a plan that offers the Silver Sneakers program.

*AEP: The Annual Election Period is from October 15th – December 7th every year. Changes to Medicare plans made during this time will take effect on January 1st of the following year. 

**OEP: The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment takes place every year from January 1st – March 31st. Changes to Medicare plans made during this time will take effect the 1st of the following month of applying.

***SEP: A Special Enrollment Period allows you to enroll in Medicare plans outside of your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and the General Enrollment Period (GEP). Please contact a licensed representative if you think you may qualify for Special Enrollment.

b. You don’t have a Medicare plan yet:

In order to join a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first be enrolled Original Medicare (Parts A&B). After enrolling, you can then choose your Medicare Advantage plan during your IEP (Initial Enrollment Period). Similarly, if you’d like to choose a Medigap plan, you must first be enrolled in Original Medicare.

Carriers offering Medicare plans that include the benefit of Silver Sneakers:

Since so many seniors across the country are joining this popular program, many major Medicare carriers offer plans that include Silver Sneakers. These carriers are:

  • Aetna
  • Anthem
  • AgeWell
  • Blue California
  • Emblem Health
  • Empire BlueCross Blue Shield
  • Humana
  • WellCare
Silver Sneakers: The Right Program for You

We can talk all day about the benefits of the Silver Sneakers program, but they truly speak for themselves! In a survey conducted on 35,700 participants in this program, more than 66% said they would exercise less if it weren’t for these courses. Even more members noted that they had a significantly easier time performing tasks like bathing, dressing, and walking.

“I wish I’d joined earlier because I’ve enjoyed every minute of my membership! I believe that Silver Sneakers helps prevent many conditions that can plague older adults.” – Satisfied Senior

It’s time to capitalize on the benefits of your health care program. Contact a licensed representative to help get you started with Silver Sneakers today. Then, all you need to do is find your gym shorts and start having fun!

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