A negotiation impasse between an insurance company and Tennessee YMCAs could wind up affecting thousands of members.
According to the Nashville Tennessean, Tivity Health, which operates a program called Fitness Your Way through BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has eliminated all YMCAs in the state from its network of gyms. The program gives enrollees discounted memberships to in-network gyms, with membership rates of $29 per month.
The change took effect on Jan. 1, and according to Tivity Health’s Healthcare Business Unit president Steve Janicak, is the end result of a failed negotiation.
“After significant efforts by Tivity Health to reach an agreement, the Tennessee State Alliance of YMCAs decided to leave our SilverSneakers network after years of partnership,” Janicak told the Tennessean. “When we could not come to an agreement, we ended our relationship with the Tennessee YMCAs.”
Tennessee Ys decided to opt out of the SilverSneakers program — which allows seniors to exercise at participating locations at no cost — last fall.
Officials with Tennessee Ys said that they were contractually obligated to maintain confidentiality on the subject, but only for the contract period which ended Dec. 31.
“On the advice of legal counsel we elected to honor those provisions,” YMCA of Middle Tennessee Chief Strategy Officer Jessifa Fain told the Tennessean. “In addition, we also understood that Tivitiy intended to notify participants in the program once they made us aware they did not intend to renew the agreement.”
Tivity did indeed begin notifying members of the imminent changes in December, hoping to encourage them to find a new location to participate in the Fitness Your Way program.
“In early December, we began notifying members who have participated at one or more of the Tennessee YMCAs in the last five months to explain the change in our fitness network and help them find a different location,” Janicak said.
According to YMCA of Middle Tennessee President and CEO Dan Dummermuth, the Y will offer any member affected by the change a discounted membership of $38 a month through the end of 2020.