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Exercise is important for all age groups, including older adults.

Making sure that you stay physically active can help to maintain mobility and physical function, lift your mood, and make performing your day-to-day activities easier.

SilverSneakers is a health and fitness program that provides gym access and fitness classes for older adults. It’s covered by some Medicare plans.

A 2019 study of SilverSneakers participants found that individuals with more gym visits had higher self-reported physical and mental health scores.

Keep reading to learn more about SilverSneakers, which Medicare plans cover it, and more.

SilverSneakers is a health and fitness program that’s specifically aimed at adults ages 65 and older.

It includes the following benefits:

  • use of participating gym facilities, including fitness equipment, pools, and walking tracks
  • fitness classes specifically designed for older adults of all fitness levels, including cardio workouts, strength training, and yoga
  • access to online resources, including workout videos as well as nutrition and fitness tips
  • promotion of a supportive community of fellow participants both in person and online

SilverSneakers has thousands of participating gyms nationwide. In order to find a location near you, use the free search tool on the SilverSneakers website.

Using fitness programs can help improve your overall health and may also lower your healthcare costs.

One study followed SilverSneakers participants for 2 years. By year two, it was found that participants had lower total healthcare costs as well as smaller increases in healthcare costs compared to nonparticipants.

Some Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans cover SilverSneakers. Additionally, some Medigap (Medicare supplement) plans cover it as well.

If your plan covers the SilverSneakers program, you can sign up for it on the SilverSneakers website. After signing up, you’ll be provided with a SilverSneakers membership card with a member ID number.

SilverSneakers members have access to any gym that participates in the program. You can use your membership card to enroll at your gym of choice. You’ll then have access to all SilverSneakers benefits free of charge.

Tips for choosing the best Medicare plan for your needs

So how can you choose a Medicare plan that fits your needs? Follow the tips below to get started:

  • Think about your health needs. Since everyone has different health needs, it’s important to consider what kind of health or medical services you’ll need in the coming year.
  • Look at the coverage options. Compare the coverage provided in the different Medicare plans with your health needs. Focus on plans that’ll meet these needs in the upcoming year.
  • Consider cost. Costs can vary by the Medicare plan you select. When looking at plans, think about things like premiums, deductibles, and how much you’d be able to pay out of pocket.
  • Compare Part C and Part D plans. If you’re looking at a Part C or Part D plan, remember that what’s covered varies by each individual plan. Use the official Medicare site to carefully compare different plans before deciding on one.
  • Check the participating doctors. Some plans require that you use a healthcare provider in their network. Be sure to double-check to see if your healthcare provider is included in a plan’s network before enrolling.

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover gym memberships or fitness programs. Since SilverSneakers falls under this category, Original Medicare doesn’t cover it.

However, gym memberships and fitness programs, including SilverSneakers, are often covered as an additional benefit in Medicare Part C plans.

Private insurance companies approved by Medicare offer these plans.

Part C plans include the benefits covered by Parts A and B. They also typically have additional benefits like dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage (Part D).

Some Medigap policies will also cover gym memberships and fitness programs. Like Part C plans, private insurance companies offer Medigap plans. Medigap plans help to cover costs that Original Medicare doesn’t.

SilverSneakers members have access to the included benefits free of charge. You’ll have to pay for anything that isn’t covered in the SilverSneakers program.

If you’re unsure about what’s included at a specific gym, be sure to ask.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the specific amenities and classes available to you can vary by gym. You may have to search for a participating gym that meets your specific fitness needs.

Tips for enrolling in Medicare

Will you be enrolling in Medicare for the upcoming year? Follow the tips below to help with the enrollment process:

  • Do you need to sign up? If you’re already collecting Social Security benefits, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) when you’re eligible. If you’re not collecting Social Security, you’ll need to sign up.
  • Know when the open enrollment period is. This is the time during which you can enroll in or make changes to your Medicare plans. Every year, open enrollment is October 15 through December 7.
  • Compare plans. The cost and coverage of Medicare Part C and Part D plans can vary by plan. If you’re considering Part C or Part D, be sure to compare several plans that are available in your area before selecting one.

SilverSneakers is a fitness program specifically geared toward older adults. It includes:

  • access to gym facilities
  • specialized fitness classes
  • online resources

SilverSneakers benefits are provided to members free of charge. If you want to use gym or fitness services not included in SilverSneakers, you’ll have to pay for them.

Original Medicare doesn’t cover gym memberships or fitness programs like SilverSneakers. However, some Medicare Part C and Medigap plans do.

If you’re interested in SilverSneakers, check to see if it’s included in your plan or any plan you’re considering.