Does Medicare Cover Gym Memberships?
The Medicare program is a federal health insurance plan that provides coverage to citizens over 65. It also provides coverage for those who are disabled or have certain medical conditions. So when enrolling in a gym membership, does Medicare cover the costs?
If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you may ponder on this question, wondering if a gym membership is covered under your policy. The short answer is no. Medicare does not cover gym memberships. However, certain medically necessary treatments and services are covered by Medicare, including gym or fitness center access. Let’s learn a little bit about Medicare, look at these treatments, how they might apply to you, and other possible solutions to keep you fit and healthy without going broke.
How Does Medicare Work?
The Centers administer the Medicare program for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). To qualify for coverage, you must meet one of these criteria: you must be 65 years old or older, have certain medical conditions, or be permanently disabled and unable to work.
Once enrolled in the program, you will receive a card with your name and ID number. This card allows you access to doctors, hospitals, prescription drug plans, and other services covered under the program. Each year there are open enrollment periods, during which you can change your coverage if needed.
Does Medicare Cover Gym Memberships?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover gym memberships. If you want to join a gym, you must pay for it out-of-pocket. In most cases, only medically necessary treatments are covered under Medicare, although some states provide discounts on fitness classes through Medicaid programs. This plan varies from state to state, so it’s worth checking with your state’s Medicaid program if this applies to you.
Some private insurance providers may offer discounts on gym memberships as part of their supplemental coverage plans. It’s worth checking with your insurance provider to see if they offer any discounts or incentives for joining a gym.
Necessary treatments under Medicare include:
Rehabilitative Services Covered by Medicare
Medicare Part B covers medically necessary rehabilitative services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology. These treatments can help improve a patient’s functioning after an illness or injury. Sometimes, the patient will be referred to an approved health club for additional treatment activities like swimming or other aquatics exercises to help with muscle strengthening and balance.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits such as coverage of gym memberships or fitness classes in their plan benefits packages. Not all plans will offer these benefits, so it’s important to check with your specific plan provisions to see what’s included in their coverage options. For example, some plans may reimburse certain fitness classes while others may provide discounts on specific gym memberships or home exercise equipment purchases.
Silver Sneakers Program
The Silver Sneakers program is another option for seniors with Original Medicare Parts A & B coverage (no private supplemental insurance). This program provides free access to participating gyms and fitness centers across the U.S., including access to group exercise classes designed specifically for seniors. Eligibility is based on the patient’s insurance policy, so it’s important to contact your plan provider directly if you qualify for this program.
Are There Other Options?
Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to get discounted or free access to gyms and fitness centers. Some employers offer employee wellness programs that include discounted or free gym memberships as part of their benefits package. Additionally, some local senior centers offer free or discounted access to gyms and fitness centers in the area. You can also check with your local YMCA to see if they offer any discounts for seniors or military personnel.
If you’re looking for an even cheaper option, consider exercising at home instead of joining a gym. Many of today’s popular exercise programs, such as yoga and Pilates, can be done from the comfort of your own home using online tutorials, DVDs, or streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix. Additionally, many cities and towns have public parks where you can walk or jog at no cost. Exercise bands are also affordable and easy for strength training exercises at home without buying expensive equipment like weights or machines.
While Medicare does not cover regular gym memberships as part of its standard coverage package, some treatments, and services include access to gym facilities or discounts on certain exercise equipment purchases. It’s always best to check with your specific plan provider about any additional benefits available through their programs before deciding whether or not a gym membership is right for you. With the right information and knowledge about what’s available through your insurance policy, you can find the best way to meet your fitness needs without breaking the bank!