Over the years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has started allowing private Medicare plans to host more unique benefits such as transportation, meal planning, and Medicare fitness programs. Some private Medicare plans (like Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans) offer Medicare fitness programs through SilverSneakers. SilverSneakers hosts fitness programs for Medicare beneficiaries at local gyms and YMCAs.
SilverSneakers is sort of like a gym membership included in your Medicare plan (if your plan includes it as a benefit - not all plans do). The program hosts various kinds of fitness classes with a focus on aging and senior health.
You will receive a SilverSneakers card in the mail as well as a membership card (if applicable) to the facility that you choose. You can choose any facility in your area that hosts SilverSneakers programs. If you move or if you are on vacation and want to use a different facility, you can ask to switch facilities. In some cases, like if you belong to the YMCA or a chain gym, you can use your existing membership at multiple locations. There are no restrictions on visits, so you can attend once a month or every day! You can swim a few laps in the pool and an hour on the elliptical, or you can join a group yoga class.
Anyone over the age of 65 who has a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan with the SilverSneakers benefit included is eligible for the program. Whether or not your health plan includes the program will vary based on your location and the plan you selected.
Silver Sneakers workouts include everything from yoga and flexibility training to general fitness and strength classes. Plus, most Silver Sneakers workouts are held in group-settings, so you can make friends while you get in shape!
Even if you don’t like the idea of group fitness programs, you can get your silver sneakers workout through a simple gym membership. Silver Sneakers locations include a network of thousands of gyms and fitness organizations. With your membership, you have access to all participating locations. That means that you can take your pick: would you rather find a gym with a pool and get your exercise by swimming laps? Or, would you rather participate in yoga classes at the park? The choice can be yours with the abundance of Silver Sneakers locations.
The SilverSneakers Classic classes focus on muscle strength and ease of movement. This is arguably the most basic program and a good place for beginners. Classes are 45-60 minutes long.
Silver Sneakers Circuit classes are more upbeat than the classic program. For 45-60 minutes, you’ll work on upper-body strength using weights. You can use a chair for support. Circuit classes are acceptable for most fitness levels.
For a higher intensity workout, sign up for Cardiofit! These classes involve heart-healthy aerobics and can strengthen your upper body and your core. This class may not be ideal for beginners.
Yoga relaxes both the mind and body, reduces stress, and improves mental clarity. Any SilverSneakers member at any fitness level can participate in a yoga class.
If you’d rather get your exercise from the water, SilverSneakers Splash is a class held in a shallow pool with the goal to increase movement capabilities. Since the classes happen in the shallow side of he pool, it is safe for non-swimmers.
Alternatively, WATERinMOTION is a high-energy “splash class” of sorts where you can perform cross-training in the water and burn calories without hurting your joints.
The stability class is great for those who need help with balance and strength around the ankles, knees, and hips. The exercises are mainly designed for fall prevention and can be adapted for any skill level.
Within the Boom program series, there are three classes: Boom Muscle, Boom Mind, and Boom Move. Boom muscle classes use athletic exercises with a focus on the upper body, while Boom Mind classes are all about yoga and pilates. Boom Move is a way for you to exercise while having fun as you build your endurance while dancing.
To find Silver Sneakers locations near you, click here! You can search by class type, amenity (like pools or group exercise classes), or even gender if you prefer a women-only gym. Some examples of locations that may support the program are YMCAs, hospital wellness centers, select Planet Fitness locations, and other local gyms.
You can find the SilverSneakers benefit inside a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies but approved by Medicare. That means that they cover everything that Medicare covers plus additional benefits (like SilverSneakers). The SilverSneakers benefit is most commonly found within Medicare Advantage plans.
On occasion, you may also find Silver Sneakers within a Medigap, or Medicare Supplement plan. Medigap plans are also offered by private insurance companies but most of the time, they do not add coverage in the same way that Medicare Advantage plans do. In most cases, the extra coverage that Medigap plans provide relates more to coverage for your deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. However, on occasion, you may find a Medigap plan that includes a SilverSneakers membership.
The most common way to get Medicare SilverSneakers is through a Medicare Advantage plan. The good news is that we have thousands and thousands of licensed Medicare benefits specialists who can guide you through the process of selecting a Medicare Advantage plan that includes the SilverSneakers benefit.
You should know that Medicare Advantage plans have the ability to change their benefits every year, which is why it’s a good idea to have an agent or benefits advisor that you can turn to at least once a year to review your coverage and make sure that you’re getting everything you need. To set up an appointment with a benefits advisor, click here or call 833-438-3676.
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