SilverSneakers is a supplemental fitness benefit available through some Medicare Advantage health plans (Medicare Part C). It is not provided as part of the federal government’s Original Medicare program covering hospital insurance (Medicare Part A) and medical insurance (Medicare Part B).
SilverSneakers is a program that helps adults over the age of 65 stay physically active through a network of more than 17,000 gyms, community centers and fitness facilities in the United States.
According to recommended physical activity guidelines, older adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, and strength training, flexibility and balance exercises at least two days per week.
To help meet these goals, some Medicare Advantage plans provide a SilverSneakers membership with access to participating gyms, community centers, pools, walking tracks, tennis courts and other fitness facilities. Eligible beneficiaries can use exercise equipment and attend fitness classes to improve their strength and overall health at no extra cost. Online classes are also available. About 88% of SilverSneakers members say the program has improved their quality of life.
Medicare Advantage is available through private insurance companies. Typically, these health plans cover all of the services provided by Original Medicare and additional benefits such as dental, vision, hearing and wellness. The Medicare website provides an online tool to help seniors compare different Medicare Advantage plans and their benefits and costs.
Because Medicare Advantage plans vary, those who want a SilverSneakers membership should confirm directly with the insurance company that the benefit is included before enrolling. The SilverSneakers website also provides a search tool to connect seniors to participating health plans.
Some seniors who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan may already have this benefit as part of their coverage. Use the Instant Eligibility Check tool on the SilverSneakers website for immediate confirmation of whether a beneficiary is eligible.
Those who are covered by their insurance plan may register for SilverSneakers online right away. Once registered, seniors may download a membership card, locate participating fitness facilities and begin accessing benefits immediately.