Does Medicare Cover Gym Memberships?

Medicare Advantage

Medicare has evolved over the years to offer more than just medical treatment coverage. As the importance of preventive care and overall well-being gains recognition, Medicare has adapted by providing coverage for various wellness services. One such benefit that has garnered attention is coverage for gym membership costs.

Those who are insured through Medicare should know that they may be able to use their coverage to pay for gym membership. While Medicare doesn’t always offer this type of coverage, there are certain situations in which it does cover gym membership costs. Having a gym membership can make it easier for individuals to stay health and avoid serious illnesses. As such, individuals on Medicare should definitely be aware of and take advantage of any gym membership coverage that is available to them.

Coverage for gym membership through Medicare

Any Medicare beneficiary who is interested in gym membership should know that Original Medicare does not offer this type of coverage. Original Medicare consists of Part A and Part B coverage. Part A offers coverage for inpatient treatments and Part B offers coverage for outpatient services. The only situation in which either of these coverage types may provide access to gym facilities is if a patient undergoes physical therapy treatment. However, Medicare Advantage plans- also known as Medicare Part C- do offer coverage for gym memberships in many cases.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans offer a comprehensive alternative to Original Medicare by combining hospital and medical coverage under a single policy. While these plans provide the same essential benefits as Original Medicare, they also typically go above and beyond by offering additional perks like gym membership to enhance the well-being of their beneficiaries.

Medicare Advantage plans provide gym membership coverage through various programs, the most notable being SilverSneakers and Silver&Fit. These programs have partnerships with numerous fitness centers and gyms across the country, allowing beneficiaries to access these facilities at no additional cost or at a significantly reduced rate.

  • SilverSneakers: Perhaps the most recognized fitness program for seniors, SilverSneakers offers gym access, fitness classes, and health and wellness education. Beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes SilverSneakers can enjoy these benefits as part of their membership.
  • Silver&Fit: Similar to SilverSneakers, Silver&Fit offers gym access and fitness classes. Eligibility and program details may vary depending on the specific Medicare Advantage plan.

There are a few other gym membership coverage possibilities for Medicare Advantage enrollees. Those who have a Medicare Advantage plan from United Healthcare may be able to get their gym membership covered through the Renew Active program. Blue Cross Blue Shield also offers gym membership perks through some of its Medicare Advantage plans.

Physical therapy treatment

While Medicare Part A and Part B don’t cover gym memberships, they may cover gym access during physical therapy treatments. Part A could cover fitness facility access during hospitalization or inpatient rehabilitation that includes physical therapy. Part B could cover fitness facility access if physical therapy sessions are required as part of covered outpatient treatment.

Covering your gym membership through Medicare

If you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you should review your plan details to see if your plan includes gym membership coverage. Read over the fine print of your plan and look out for any mention of SilverSneakers or Silver&Fit coverage. You should be able to get membership costs covered at certain gyms if you see either of these two programs mentioned in your plan details.

Even if neither of these programs is mentioned on your plan, it’s a good idea to give your insurance company a call and speak with a representative about the possibility of gym membership coverage. You may find that your plan offers such coverage even if this coverage is not offered through either the SilverSneakers or Silver&Fit program.

You can add Medicare Advantage to your Medicare plan if you only have Original Medicare and you want to enjoy gym membership coverage benefits. Just remember that Medicare Advantage plans are offered through private insurance companies. You’ll therefore have to shop around and compare Medicare Advantage plan offerings from different providers in your area to choose the best coverage option for your needs.

Medicare’s evolving approach to healthcare recognizes the profound impact of preventive measures on individuals’ well-being. Coverage for gym memberships, primarily offered through Medicare Advantage plans, has become a valuable tool in promoting healthier lifestyles among beneficiaries. By supporting access to fitness programs and gym facilities, Medicare is empowering individuals to take charge of their health, fostering active aging and potentially reducing healthcare costs associated with chronic conditions. As beneficiaries explore these wellness benefits, it’s crucial to review their Medicare Advantage plans for information on eligibility and specific program offerings. Embracing a more active lifestyle can lead to improved physical health and enhanced overall quality of life, making Medicare’s coverage of gym memberships a significant stride toward a healthier future.

 

Featured image provided by Greg Rosenke; Unsplash; Thanks!

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