If you’re on Medicare or looking into your Medicare options, you may have heard about fitness benefits and gym memberships offered by some Medicare plans. Some program names that may ring a bell are SilverSneakers and Cigna Active. 

In some cases, Medicare does cover gym memberships and other fitness benefits. It all depends on the specific Medicare coverage you’re enrolled in. Original Medicare does not provide fitness perks, but many Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) and some Medicare Supplement plans do. In this article, we’ll explain a bit more about how these fitness programs work and how you can claim your fitness benefits.

If you’re having trouble claiming your fitness benefit or are unsure how it works, we’re here to help! Our team of Medicare Advocates specializes in helping Medicare recipients use their benefits and understand how their plans work.

Key takeaways:

  • Original Medicare doesn’t include free gym memberships or any fitness benefit, but some Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans may include them. 

  • For Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans, different carriers can offer different wellness perks.

  • Fitness benefits are not a standard benefit in any Medigap plan. Insurance providers may include them at a reduced cost or for free. 

  • Private insurance companies offer fitness benefits to attract beneficiaries. Make sure you have the coverage you need before prioritizing gym memberships in a Medicare plan.

Which Medicare plans offer fitness and wellness benefits?

Many older adults want a free gym membership to stay physically active and manage chronic conditions like heart disease. Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t cover any additional benefits beyond medical insurance. This means Original Medicare won’t include fitness benefits. If you’re looking for fitness coverage, many Medicare Advantage plans include fitness and some Medigap plans do as well. Both of these plan types are offered by private insurance companies, not the federal government. This is why they are able to include gym memberships and other wellness perks. 

Some common examples of fitness memberships for older adults are SilverSneakers, Silver&Fit, and Renew Active. These programs are specifically designed for seniors and may be included in health plans. Benefits often include:

  • Access to local fitness classes, gyms, fitness centers, and other fitness locations

  • Home fitness kit

  • Live online classes

  • On-demand workout videos 

  • Allowances for exercise equipment 

You can sign up for a SilverSneakers membership without a Medigap plan or Medicare Advantage plan if you only want access to the online platform. Otherwise, there are often local community classes and programs for seniors who want to stay fit at a low cost.

How many Medicare Advantage plans offer gym memberships and other fitness perks?

Not every Medicare Advantage plan will cover the cost of a gym membership, but 98% of Medicare Advantage plans provide some type of fitness benefit. 

KFF found that a slightly lower percentage of UnitedHealthcare beneficiaries are offered fitness perks (96%).

What Medicare Supplement plans include gym memberships?

There are some Medicare Supplement plans that include a gym membership, but it depends on your insurance provider rather than your Medicare Supplement plan type. Medicare Supplement insurance is standardized and regulated by the federal government, but offered by private insurance companies who may or may not include fitness benefits for free or at a discount.

Why doesn’t Original Medicare offer fitness perks?

You may be wondering why Original Medicare doesn't pay for gym memberships or offer extra benefits. The question you should be asking, however, is why Medicare Advantage plans do. If you think about how employer health insurance plans work, they don’t generally offer to pay for gym memberships, so why would Medicare?

Fitness benefits are one of the marketing tactics used by private insurance companies to attract Medicare beneficiaries to their Medicare Advantage plans. This isn’t to say that the benefits aren’t good. You should just be sure that your primary healthcare needs are met rather than prioritizing a free gym membership. 

Work with a Chapter Advisor

Our team of licensed Medicare Advisors always makes sure that your doctors and prescriptions are covered and your financial and healthcare needs are met first. Then, we’ll see how we can maximize other benefits that are important to you. 

Need help choosing the right Medicare coverage for your needs or claiming your free gym membership? Schedule a free consultation or call us at (855) 900-2427 to get your questions answered and feel confident in your Medicare decisions.

Frequently asked questions

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer Silver&Fit as a benefit, but it varies by carrier. Insurance providers that provide fitness benefits may do so in a variety of different ways. Some offer memberships like Silver&Fit, some offer fitness allowances, and some have their own fitness programs like UnitedHealthcare’s Renew Active.

Medicare Plan G and other Medicare Supplement plans may pay for gym memberships depending on which insurance carrier you go with. However, they don’t provide gym memberships or any additional benefit beyond medical services as a standard benefit.

Get Medicare, Maximized