Medicare insurance is generally limited to those 65 and older, though some disabilities and conditions will qualify you for Medicare before you turn 65.
Can I Get A Free Gym Membership On Medicare?
Traditional Medicare plans do not cover gym memberships. However, if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medigap plan, your gym membership may be covered.
At this point it’s important to review the letters. Medicare A & B are part of traditional Medicare. Medicare Part A covers hospitalization and Medicare Part B covers visits to your doctor. Medicare Part C is an add-on that is also referred to as the Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs.
Please note that you can’t get Medicare Part C unless you have Parts A & B. Medicare Part C is a supplemental policy that you can customize, with limitations, to your needs.
Buy With Care
Both traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage will cover visits to your doctor and hospitalizations. However, you may find a better fit with a Medicare Advantage policy that includes part D if you need coverage for
- dental care
- prescriptions drugs
Gym memberships such as Silver Sneakers may be included in your Medicare Advantage package. Discuss your need for a gym membership with your representative or agent before you purchase to make sure your gym membership will be fully funded.
What About A Medical Savings Account?
If you choose to participate in Medicare Part C, you can move funds from your HSA to your MSA and use a Medicare High Deductible Healthcare Policy, or HDHP. Insurance through Medicare Part C can be structured similarly to a Medicare Advantage Plan; that is, you can get dental and vision coverage on this program as long as you are willing to pay the premiums.
An MSA can’t be used to cover a gym membership, though some can be used for chiropractic care and for physical therapy sessions. Again, buy with care. If you want an MSA with a great deal of flexibility, you will pay a higher premium. Additionally, if you pull money out of your MSA for anything other than approved medical coverage, you may have to pay penalties.
If you have reviewed your options and your Medicare Advantage Plan does not cover a gym membership, don’t give up. First of all, you may be able to alter your plan at your next renewal. Keep a list of services that you would like to ask your representative about before you renew.
Next, check with local gyms to see if they offer any senior specific discounts. If you’re on a fixed income, you may be able to qualify for a cheaper gym membership thanks to a sliding scale assessment of your monthly income.
If you live in an apartment complex, confirm that your facility doesn’t have some sort of fitness space. Just because it’s not in your building doesn’t mean there isn’t one that you can access. If the owner of your building owns multiple apartment complexes, it’s worth asking if one of these complexes has a gym.
Visit your local recreation center to find out about free introductory offers or seasonal discounts for senior citizens. Make sure you also stop by your local senior center; they may offer classes including yoga and tai chi that you might enjoy.
Look for discounts offered to the general public as well. Many local gyms offer discounts around the 1st of the year. In such cases, you may get a short-term discount that will allow you temporary access to the gym until you can add a gym membership to your yearly Medicare renewal.
While you wait for access to the gym, consider participating in some online fitness programs. A short chair yoga workout may be an ideal addition to your morning routine. You can stream a tai chi or isometric workout program right after lunch to get your blood moving. Discuss these plans with your physician and make sure your phone is nearby if you find yourself in difficulty.
A Gym Membership Is More Than A Workout
Finally, make sure you truly tally what a gym membership will provide for you. For those who live in senior-centered housing, transportation may be free. You will get to enjoy the company of new people and perhaps even take a class for a form of fitness you’ve never tried while someone else drives you to the gym.
You may choose to take your daily shower at the gym and cut back on your water and power use at your home. Many people stop and enjoy the coffee available at the gym before they start their workout. Most gyms offer several televisions where you can review different programs, or you can use the free wi-fi while you’re there.