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- What is happening with the AARP Medicare Plan and ...
What is happening with the AARP Medicare Plan and Silver Sneakers?
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We understand you have concerns regarding the removal of the Silver Sneakers program as a value-added benefit to your AARP branded Medicare plan. We are sorry that this program is no longer going to be offered in your state.
How Changes Are Determined
Decisions about the SilverSneakers program markets are made jointly by UnitedHealthcare, SilverSneakers and AARP. The evaluation process must take into account a variety of different factors, such as the availability of locations, number of insured members in a state, marketing factors, regulatory concerns, etc.
What is Happening
At this time, SilverSneakers is being replaced with a variety of new services such as a special membership rate at participating YMCAs and fitness centers and a personal wellness coach available over the phone to help you set and meet your fitness and health goals.
UnitedHealthcare can also connect you to valuable community resources to help you live as healthy and active a life as possible. You can use a participating YMCA or fitness center and receive a special program offer of 50% off the monthly membership rate. There is also a waived or reduced enrollment fee. This change will allow UnitedHealthcare to offer more options to more insured members.
How to Find More Information
You can call 1-888-887-5963 to learn more about these services, or if you would like to join a YMCA or fitness center. By calling this dedicated health and wellness line, you can also inquire if your current fitness center is participating in the network and, if it’s not, to nominate it.
How to Nominate Your Fitness Center for Participation
Another way to nominate your local fitness center and help the network grow is to give the referral letter to your fitness center manager. That way your fitness center knows of your interest in having them join the network and they have the information to learn more.
We hope that this information is helpful. We do appreciate you taking the time to inform us of your concerns, and thank you for being a member of AARP
Seems like AARP/UHC just told all members with Silver Sneaker concerns to “Kiss our Butt” and “Go somewhere else if you don’t like our new plans”.
I’m glad most comments indicate that AARP membership is already looking into other sources of suppllimental insurance that will fit their personal needs. My family will be.
This response is self-serving drizzle and does not address the underlying problem. The way AARP has responded to this entire matter convinces me that the organization is not looking out for its members and should not quality as a non-profit. My membership is now ending.
This so called fitness ‘benefit’ that UHC rolled out this year is in no way a reasonable replacement for Silver Sneakers. I now have to pay for memberships in facilities in the two states where I spend most of my time and will have to pay even higher guest memberships in gyms (if I can even find one that offers them) when I travel.
It is so counter-intuitive for UHC to drop a benefit that helps keeps seniors active, involved and above all healthier than they would be if they did not exercise - seems likely to me that health issues and claims will go up now for many. I don’t know about others who lost Silver Sneakers but I doubt that I will have the self-discipline to keep up an exercise program on my own when I do not have access to a gym or group senior fitness classes.
As for you AARP, you claim to be THE advocate for seniors but it appears that you did not attempt to exert your considerable influence to persuade UHC to keep such a valuable benefit for your senior members. I am very disappointed and have lost confidence in both you and UHC. After being an AARP member for almost 19 years, I will not be renewing my AARP membership when it expires next year and will change insurance carriers during my birthday month this year when I can make the switch without going through underwriting review.
And by the way, AAA and organizations I belong to provide many of the same, and in some cases even better, discounts and services than those offered by AARP, so I will not lose anything when I no longer belong to AARP.
This isn't a new development. AARP posted this response on October 30, 2018. But it says: "We are sorry that this program is no longer going to be offered in your state." That's not true. Silver Sneakers is still going to be offered in our state, just not by AARP/UHC. AARP worded it that way on purpose to deflect blame onto Silver Sneakers. If they were being straight with us, they would have apologized for the fact that AARP/UHC were no longer going to offer Silver Sneakers in our state. Evidently, neither AARP nor UHC is concerned about being honest. Why would anyone want to continue their membership with an organization that is less than straight forward with their members?
This is meaningless. For groups (both AARP and United Healthcare) that purport to support healthy lifestyles for those 65+, this is a direct contradiction to that notion. Part of the rationale was that most members never step foot in a gym. Conversely, does that mean I should lose some of my medical coverage if I don't use it? Makes no sense to me. I'm particularly frustrated that I enrolled in United Healthcare last year as soon as I turned 65. I was particularly interested in programs promoting healthy aging--Silver Sneakers was a big factor in my decision. The pretty color brochures in the mail the last few days don't make me feel any better about this situation.
This is a classic example of the mushroom treatment - keep them in the dark and feed them a lot of s**t. This is strictly about money. Let's analyze their statement. There are lots of members in the program, the alternative plan has less locations, since other plans still offer Silver Sneakers it can't be regulatory issues, and marketing concern? How does "there used to be 6 gyms in your area, now there is only one" sound in an ad?
No this is about money. The new plan is going to be cheaper (in many way) then Silver Sneakers. Paying less for fewer people using the plan goes straight to the bottom line. So lets look at that. UHC is paying its top two executives around $18 million per year. And they can afford to, they make about a Billion Dollars a Month (SEC 10-Q filing for 3rd quarter 2018). AARP gets about a $880 Million for flogging these insurance policies to us, its "protected" members(IRS form 990 for 2016).
So stop thinking of yourself as a member or insured or partner. Realize you are only a wallet whose sole purpose is to feed money to these two organizations.
The be fair, I didn't expect much more from UHC. However, I am sorely disappointed in AARP. They are supposed to be our advocates. We have joined this organization to protect and advocate for us. They have failed miserably in this regard in this instance. I cannot see a reason to continue to support such a sham of an organization.
Bad AARP, bad.
It is all about money for them. Please do not give your money to organizations like this that claim to be a non-profit but somehow are involved in and receiving payments from millions of dollars worth of sales every year. Find an insurance agent and get a real look at what is out there. I began researching alternatives to AARP/UHC and found this guy online. Video is very informative about what is going on with losing Silver Sneakers so I gave him a call. Saved me a ton of money compared to AARP/UHC Medicare Supplement and got something called Silver and Fit which is just like Silver Sneakers just through a different company! Worth a look for sure
I personally understood when the United HealthCare rep told me about SilverSneakers being eliminating and they were being replaced. But, they failed to state that their program was a 50/50 plan! Ya, we pay 50%. I was not told this until after the new year began.
UHC is a for profit business and can of course make any decision they want. But I would have expected the AARP to stand up for its members and not just roll over. How it was done was not helpful; in fact I am tempted to say it was bordering on misleading. When my husband rang UHC they said "No decision has been made on a date for ending Silver Sneakers in California" He took that to mean that they were not ending support for the program in CA. But I said "No, all that means is that they haven't set a date... yet."
So he rang UHC back the next day and this time someone admitted that they were indeed ending it in CA - just hadn't decided when. (If I were a cynic I might think they were waiting for the end of open enrollment. But of course I'm not a cynic - yet.)
Like many others, my husband has voted with his feet (no pun intended!) and taken his health insurance needs elsewhere. So really, my question is, what possible incentive do we now have to renew our AARP membership? I mean you can get motel discounts through the AAA... And they fix your car/motorcycle too...
I just received a response from AARP. 3 weeks ago, I wrote this to AARP in a Facebook message(among other places): "Your Continued association with United Health Care as they discontinue their involvement with the Silver Sneakers program goes against everything you stand for. You're supposed to stand up for us, not stand idly by while we lose benefits. Your formerly good name is inextricably connected to United Health Care while they act in their own interest instead of ours. Why did you allow this to happen? You had the power to say "NO!", but you remained silent. You could have reminded United Health Care that you can lend your name to whichever company you choose. But you remained silent. You and/or UHC thought you could placate those of us who value Silver Sneakers by offering us other choices, none of which is a reasonable alternative. That action suggests that you think we're not smart enough to see what's happening, which is insulting. Why do you insult your members? Have you been reading your own forums? There's quite a lot of activity there concerning this issue. Most people plan to switch away from UHC as soon as they're able. Not only that, but many people are so disappointed, or angry, with AARP, that they will be canceling their membership in your organization. I can't say that I blame them, as you have failed your fundamental purpose in your complacency on this issue. What do we need AARP for? We can lose benefits on our own without your "help". I suggest that you reconsider your actions, and reassert yourself. Each of your millions of members is an individual to whom you owe your best efforts. On this health care issue, you've let every one of your members down."
Today I got this response: "Thank your for your feedback . We have indeed received quite a bit related to Silver Sneakers, and we are making sure it gets to folks who work with our partners." Not exactly an encouraging response, but it was good to confirm they've heard from more than just a few people.
I responded to this message with this: "Thank you for your response. Frankly, it was unexpected. Remind the "folks" to whom you refer to look at how many people in California are using Silver Sneakers, not just people who have a plan with United Health Care, but also people with a Medicare plan at other companies. That's a much bigger number than your folks may have looked at. Do your folks realize not one of those seniors is going to consider UHC without Silver Sneakers? It makes sense for any company to consider how a decision they make will affect their potential market, but I don't believe your folks looked at the potential market. After all, they are the same people who thought it would be okay to end Silver Sneakers late in the year and not give people adequate notice before the Medicare enrollment period."
Maybe, in another few weeks, AARP will have more to say in another message. I'll keep you posted.
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