Seniors in a number of states who have AARP’s Medicare Advantage and Supplement plans are out of luck if they were thinking of joining the popular SilverSneakers fitness program.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, AARP’s plans, offered through United Healthcare, will discontinue the benefit in 11 states for Medicare Advantage members and nine states for Medicare Supplement members.
Overall, about 1.2 million Medicaid Advantage customers and 1.3 million Medicare Supplement customers are being affected.
The popular SilverSneakers program provides free group fitness classes tailored to seniors. It also offers participants access to over 15,000 gym sites around the country.
UnitedHealthcare said it will bring a new offering to market on Jan. 1. The program will be called Renew Active and will offer participants gym access at participating facilities at no additional cost.
Meanwhile, AARP Medicare Supplement enrollees in the nine states will transfer to a yet-to-be-branded program that offers 50 percent off monthly fees at participating gyms, as well as telephone access to wellness coaches and to various online communities and health-related resources. The enrollment fee will be waived or reduced.
According Steve Warner, who leads UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage product team, the SilverSneakers program goes largely unused, noting that more than 90 percent of policyholders who are eligible for the program “never step foot in a gym.”