Thanks for your reply! First, full disclosure. I am a certified Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. I teach group fitness classes at two local universities, a law firm, for High School students, a non-profit organization that serves the cancer community and Silver Sneakers FLEX classes at three (non-gym) locations.
if you had a G plan with UHC and enrolled in a G plan with MM, you did not get a better plan, you got the same plan for a lower premium.
And the facts. I enrolled in a Medigap plan (Medical Mutual of Ohio) that was ONE LEVEL up from the UHC Medigap Plan that I was previously enrolled. I chose the UHC plan based on my personal health status and the premium. I worked with a broker through my pension plan (Ohio Public Employment Retirement System, OPERS). And at the time, Silver Sneakers was included.
When UHC dropped SS, I contacted the broker service and found that a Medical Mutual of Ohio Plan (one level UP from the UHC plan that I had) provided better coverage, included SS and charged a (slightly) lower premium (if I recall correctly, it was roughly $13 less per month).
I BELIEVE I now have Plan G with MM of Ohio, but do not recall the “letter” plan that I had with UHC, but it was NOT the same, of this I am certain. Because I am a “healthy” 68 year-old, and have not (fortunately) needed services/benefits from my healthcare system, I view it as a requirement that I pay little attention to. This may be flippant on my part, but it is what it is.
If you insist on having a gym membership with your Medicare plan you may find that "free" benefit is quite costly when compared to the same plan with other carriers that don't offer SS but have an even lower premium.
There is BIG difference between having a “gym membership” and access to a “Silver Sneakers” exercise program. For many Seniors, simply going to a gym can be intimidating, to the point of being a deterrent. They cannot identify with the environment, are not familiar with/knowledgeable of equipment and perceive group classes to be beyond their level of fitness. They (the Seniors have no peer identity/camaraderie with fellow Seniors).
The Silver Sneakers FLEX program (what I teach) provides exercise AND a social support network/camaraderie (a very positive aspect) at ANY location. The FLEX classes that I teach are at Senior apartment buildings and an over 55 residential home-owners development (no gyms).
The participants that I teach in FLEX classes DO perform various exercises very admirably, have established a social network, look forward to each exercise session and being with their peers. We (including me) are truly a group of individuals that have “bonded”.
Original Medicare covers health care that is MEDICALLY NECESSARY. A gym membership is neither health care nor medically necessary.
This is the MOST important point. Medicare, healthcare for that matter, should emphasize that “MEDICALLY NECESSARY” is a last resort if you will. Every effort should be made to educate and motivate Seniors to subscribe to WELLNESS initiatives (stay physically active, eat wisely, engage in cognitive function activities). By promoting physical and mental/cognitive “exercise”, “medically necessary” needs AND costs can be significantly reduced.
Therefore, I would argue, physical and mental fitness IS an ABSOLUTE (preventative) benefit that would GREATLY improve our society (and put a dent In the cost of healthcare).