What is the Silver Sneakers Program and Can I Get It with My Medicare Plan?

Today, people are living longer than ever before – and one of the ways to help maintain a long and healthy lifespan is to participate in a regular exercise program. In fact, regularly exercising offers many positive benefits when it comes to staying both healthy and in good shape – regardless of your age. And, for those who are in their 60s and beyond, it is even more important to stay active, as this promotes good bone, joint, and muscle health and balance.

One exercise program that has been gaining in popularity recently is Silver Sneakers. This program, geared towards seniors, promotes both physical activity and social events in order to help participants with taking better control of their overall health.  

How Does the Silver Sneakers Program Work?

The Silver Sneakers program offers a number of great benefits that are not just physical, but also mental, physiological, social, and even emotional. The program can offer those who join a variety of advantages, such as:

  • Customized classes that are designed for improving balance, strength, endurance, and flexibility
  • Access to classes for overall fitness, as well as individualized programs for swimming, working out, and other available programs
  • Health education workshops and seminars
  • Specially trained advisors who can assist with exercise and proper nutrition
  • Both live and online support for achieving goals such as working out, losing weight, relieving stress, and quitting smoking

Silver Sneakers programs are offered nationwide at various health clubs, YMCAs, and other similar locations – so it is easy to find meetings and events, even when traveling. This can be especially beneficial for those members who are snowbirds or who live in more than one location throughout the year.

Does Medicare Cover the Cost of the Silver Sneakers Program?

Although Original Medicare does cover the cost of many types of health care screenings and preventive services, exercise programs and fitness club memberships are not typically items that are covered by the program.

However, if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, it is possible that such costs could actually be covered – including Silver Sneakers. Because of the many benefits of exercise – including the reduction of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes – it can be considered as a preventative type of health care. In essence, exercise can also help in delaying the aging process overall. This is why in many cases, programs like Silver Sneakers are covered under some Medicare Advantage plans.

In some instances, there are classes designed specifically for Medicare Advantage members. There may also be opportunities for participating in a number of different social and fitness oriented activities.

In order to get started in Silver Sneakers, you generally just need to enroll at a participating facility and obtain your basic Silver Sneakers membership. This will typically entitle you to access the program’s amenities and available classes. In most cases, there are no minimum or maximum visitation requirements for your membership.

Taking the Next Step

If your goal is to get back – or to stay – in shape, the Silver Sneakers program is a great way to do it. The program offers numerous activities, as well as support. And you don’t have to go far in order to find the support that you need.

If you are a member of a Medicare Advantage plan, be sure to check your plan and see if this benefit is covered. Because such plans tend to cover more benefits than Original Medicare, it is possible that the cost of the Silver Sneakers program may be covered for you through your Medicare Advantage plan. If so, taking the next step should be easy!