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Periodic Contributor

Silver Sneakers: Cutting AARP's United Health Care?

I'm in the process of initial enrollment in a Medicare Part B suppliment insurance plan.  Just heard from an insurance agent I'm working with that United Healthcare Plan no longer covers Silver Sneakers (at least here in California.)  

 

Can't believe a gym membership is something an insurance company wants to cut.  One of the best routes to long life is through exercise. ( You'd think an insurance company would want you around to keep paying the premiums. 🙂

 

If this is true, AARP should alert its members about this, given their name is all over this plan. Also heard from the agent working to sell me the United Healtcare plan that the company will still pay 50% of a gym membership. But instead of full membership has decided to "provide" additional web resources to gloss up the deal. Pretty sure I can get whatever information they post on online without their "help."  Think they are rolling out this "Web-based Program" to cover for the fact they are cutting Silver Sneakers.  

 

 

If this is the case, I will be considering a different suppliment plan. Also I'll be calling both AARP and UnitedHealthcare to ask them if this is true. The agent said that United Healthcare is justifying their decision because "only" 3% of Californians use Silver Sneakers. That's still a lot of people, especially if we all call AARP and United Healthcare to ask if its true. Its open enrollment, and market forces could make a difference.

 

The Silver Sneakers website for California still lists United Healthcare as one of the insurance companies which supports them. Think this is old information, correct me if I'm wrong. Aetna, Anthem, Blue Shield, and Humana are listed as Silver Sneaker providers.  I will be checking them out. If they still support Silver Sneakers I'm going to consider moving my Medicare suppliment decision to one of them. It will be hard to do, currently have UnitedHealthcare from my employer, and they are a good insurance company, but if this is true, its too much.

Tom
Regular Contributor

Attention all those who think they cannot switch to another company until next December. Medical Mutual of Ohio is currently allowing those of us who have a Medicare Supplement with another company to swith to them with no health questions asked and you can do this for a few more months. I did it after December 7th and got my Silver Sneakers back AND saved money each month. I will not be sorry I made this move!

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@pm4241 wrote:

Attention all those who think they cannot switch to another company until next December. Medical Mutual of Ohio is currently allowing those of us who have a Medicare Supplement with another company to swith to them with no health questions asked and you can do this for a few more months. I did it after December 7th and got my Silver Sneakers back AND saved money each month. I will not be sorry I made this move!


Couple of Question -

So they asked you NO health question?

You already have your new policy in hand and there is no disclaimer about them being able to cancel any "extra" benefit (Silver Sneakers) at any time?  

 

I see from their Medigap description for 2018 that they use "Attained Age" as their rating method.  

Ohio MedMutual Medigap 2018

 

The AARP UHC Supplemental (Medigap) plans is group coverage and they use a Community Rating method for setting premiums.

 

Won't this make a big difference in your premiums down the road with Ohio MedMutual as you get older?

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Couple of Question -

So they asked you NO health question?      As I said they asked NO health questions!

You already have your new policy in hand and there is no disclaimer about them being able to cancel any "extra" benefit (Silver Sneakers) at any time? 

They have always offered Silver Sneakers and they say that they have no plans to ever stop. They feel that it is a great way to stay healthy and fit (so they save money). 

 

I see from their Medigap description for 2018 that they use "Attained Age" as their rating method.  

Ohio MedMutual Medigap 2018

 

The AARP UHC Supplemental (Medigap) plans is group coverage and they use a Community Rating method for setting premiums.

 

Won't this make a big difference in your premiums down the road with Ohio MedMutual as you get older?    Every supplement program raises the premium yearly (or usually, there might be a small decrease in some years...but the raises are far more ordinary)

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@pm4241

Thank you for your replies.

 


@pm4241 wrote: (green)

 

@Gail1 wrote (black)

 

I see from their Medigap description for 2018 that they use "Attained Age" as their rating method.  

Ohio MedMutual Medigap 2018

 

The AARP UHC Supplemental (Medigap) plans is group coverage and they use a Community Rating method for setting premiums.

 

Won't this make a big difference in your premiums down the road with Ohio MedMutual as you get older?    Every supplement program raises the premium yearly (or usually, there might be a small decrease in some years...but the raises are far more ordinary)


Yes, Medigap plan premiums do increase but some methods more than others 

Like the examples which Medicare.gov gives here, especially between the (2) methods of "Attained Age" ( Ohio Medical Mutual) and "Community Rating" ( AARP UHC)

 

Medicare.gov - Cost of Medigap Policies

 

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My Wife and I have always used our Silver Snerakers benefit. 

 

However, since United Healthcare no long covers it in California, we will not be returning to AARP supported United Healthcare.

 

What a "horrible" business decision.

 

 

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I couldn't agree more.  I cancelled my UHC for that reason and went with Anthem Blue Cross Plan G.  Next step will be to probably not renew my AARP membership.

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@wonsettler - would you mind revealing which state you reside in?    In California I found the least expensive Plan G to be from Anthem Blue Cross (and it includes SilverSneakers)!

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Arizona. I'm tired of Silver Sneakers and you never know if it's going to remain in effect so I would just as soon find the lowest premiums with the coverage I desire and pay for my gym myself. My gym (LA Fitness) is $45 a month for both my wife and myself and my savings on my new plans covers that plus an additional savings of more than $1,000 annually. I'm content with that. 

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  • I'm switching from AARP UHC Plan F (been a member since 09/01/06) to Aetna Plan G.  It's slightly cheaper than the AARP UHC Plan F now but in April it is $70.00 a month cheaper. That's more than enough to pay for my and my wife's gym membership each year. My wife cannot switch due to a pre-existing condition but I'm switching her to the AARP UHC plan G. Next year it will be $525 a year cheaper (including the Part B $185 deductable) which again would pay for both of our gym memberships. I'm also switching from our current AARP UHC drug plan that costs us $2,200 annually to a AARP UHC Walgreen plan that costs us $797 annually with no copay for my wife's  meds. My one prescription increases a whole $50.00 annually so,  no bill deal.

The only supplemental plan I'm aware of that will have Silver Sneakers next year is Humana and it's costs are more than Aetna in the same amount as my gym membership costs so Humana would actually be  charging me for a gym membership.

 

To recap, I'm changing to plans that easily covers my gym costs and saves me $$$$ each year in the future from my current expenses.

 

I wouldn't worry if the plan offers Silver Sneakers for they can cancel that at anytime. Look for plans that save enough money that will allow you to pay your own gym membership and you don't have to worry about Silver Sneakers? 

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Periodic Contributor

How do you get it to go down to $70 in April?  Are you moving?  Are you getting younger?

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As I said, $70 dollars a month cheaper. $180.00 versus $250.00.

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Yes, that much I got.  $70 for Plan G is way cheap.  

 

My question was in response to your saying that IN APRIL it will go down to $70.  My understanding is that the monthly price in January 2019 is the monthly price all year of 2019, unless you're moving to a different state (or at least a different zip code).  So I don't understand how you can know-and-say NOW (in November 2018) that it will "go down" to $70 in April... (presumably from some higher number where it will start in January).  Could you kindly clarify?  Thanks.

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My supplemental premiums have never been as low as $70.00 per month and I began on 09/01/2006. 

 

In my state, the AARP UHC Supplemental plan F premiums have always been increased in April. My wife and I currently pay $230.xx each and in April 2019 that increases to $249.xx each. They send a notification each year in October informing us of our premium costs for the following year. If we were both to transition to AARP UHC Plan G, considering our ages (77 & 76 years of age) the premium for next year (no change for that plan in April) would be $201.xx monthly but since I'm going to Aetna plan G we lose the 5% discount for both being AARP UHC customers so my wife's premium will be $211.xx per month. My Aetna premium for their plan G will be $179.xx monthly.

 

Remember, each state and each state's country has differing premiums and procedures.

 

So you see, if I were to stay with what I currently have, AARP UHC plan F, my premium would be $249.xx vesus the Aetna plan G at $179.xx per month. That is $70.00 per month less when I transition to Aetna. My wife cannot leave UHC because of kidney problems. If that were not the case, we would both transition to Aetna and with a 7% reduction in premiums for both being Aetna customers and that would reduce our 179.xx monthly fee by 7 %. 

 

I hope that clarifies things for you.

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Tom, thanks very much for that timely info, I'll be sure to checkout Anthem Blue Cross (and contrary to the deceiving remarks from AARP-UHC I'm sure that Anthem Blue Cross isn't the only Medigap plan still offering Silver Sneakes in California).  In any case, shame on AARP for letting down their insured members!  😞

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Anthem Blue Cross' (Innovative) Plan F in California includes Silver Sneakers, but based on my age it would cost me about $50 MORE per month in 2019 than the AARP-UHC Plan F.
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Newbie

Heads up AARP and United Healthcare: you are headed for a mass exodus.  In place of Silver Sneakers, we will get 24/7 access to a nurse, and Wellness coaching?  I had both of these available to me for years, but never had the need to use them.  On the other hand, I go to the gym religiously 3 times/week.  I'll be moving to an Advantage plan, or a different Supplemental plan that does offer the Silver Sneakers benefit.  Life goes on... 

Alan  

Contributor

As of  January 1, 2019 I will be going to a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan that includes silver sneakers on top of that the monthly premium was almost half of what I was paying with United healthcare and AARP!  At my age the gym is one of the most important things I can do for my health why pay for a supplement insurance and don’t get the true benefits that you need I hope United healthcare and AARP fEELS it in the pocket,

Periodic Contributor

Hi Alan,

 

Thanks for the post.  You wrote. "I had both of these available to me for years, but never had the need to use them."  That's exactly right.  I think they are just using smoke and mirror to cover for their financial bottom line. They might be saving a few cents, but its only going to cost them more if we stop going to the gym.  Better yet, lets stay alive and get another supplement plan.

 

I posted a similar inquiry over on AARP Benifits forum, and did get a response from them.  Might be of interest, though to date AARP hasn't said much in their defense.  Here's the url: 

 

https://community.aarp.org/t5/Benefits-Discounts/Silver-Sneakers-No-Longer-an-AARP-Benefit/m-p/20637... 

 

 

Tom
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I also got the notice they are ending Silver Sneakers in California.  Not happy about it at all.  It was one of the reasons I went with AARP/UHC.  It helped a lot not having to pay a gym membership, except for $7 dollars a month because my gym doesn't have what is considered Silver Sneaker Classes.  It is sad how they treat retirees.  They keep increasing all of our costs, but not our income.  I realize it's a perk from the insurance company, but doubt they loose anything from offering it.  They probably pay out less in medical costs to the people who try to stay healthy and fit.

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It has to be a major plus for insurance company's bottom line to have seniors stay active - there's science to back that up. This decision is so stupid!
Periodic Contributor

It really is. Why would they not want us to stay active. It is too much for me to continue giving my business to folks that only htink about the bottom $. I looked into other options and after a late night on the web I found this on youtube. Gave a good list of alternatives if youre like me and dont want to support the greedy anymore https://youtu.be/Ug_BMbO6TKk

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Had Kaiser Senior Advantage Plus (includes Silver-&-Fit gym benefit plus $280 every 2 years credit on already reasonably prices eyegrasses or contacts plus hearing aid benefit plus free dental Xrays yearly plus free teeth cleaning every 6 mo plus *all* immunizations free) until 2017; then switched to AARP/UHC Plan F (~$155/mo) & Aetna Select (~$20 per month) for my Part D for 2018.  Note that my gym is 24-hr Fitness Super Sport (~$45-50/mo without Silver-Something).  For 2019, back to Kaiser I will go (actually, due to their 5-star rating, I was able to go back this month with a Special Open Enrollment).  Here's why.

For 2019, Humana is the only Medicare Supplement insurer in my area (Santa Clara County) which will include Silver Sneakers in its Plan F coverage, BUT Humana's 2019 monthly premium will be ~$201, AARP/UHC's went up ~$12 to ~$167, and on top of that I'll need to pay at least $20 for a Part D plan ... Whereas Kaiser's 2019 base premium went down to $85 and for another $20 a month for their Senior Advantage Plus plan I will get [a] Silver-and-Fit (similar to Sneakers) PLUS [b] free immunizations (won't have to pay $300+ for Shingrix) PLUS [c] $280 credit every 2 years for competitively-priced glasses or contacts, which is a lot better than Humana's/AARP's Vision Plan PLUS [d] free dental xrays yearly PLUS [e] free teeth cleaning every 6 months PLUS [f] hearing benefit similar to Humana's/AARP's.


The downside of Kaiser (or any other) Senior Advantage plan is that unlike a Plan F Part-B Supplement, there's a usually-$30 copayment for just about every service: office visits, lab, xray (Surgicenter's a $250 co-pay), etc., but unless your have four (4) $30-copays *each month* (i.e., 48 per year!), Kaiser Senior Advantage Plus will cost me a lot less overall than I'd have to pay for even the cheapest combo of Part B Plan F Supplement-With-Gym (i.e., either Humana or AARP-plus-my-gym-membership) and I get all the above otherwise-costly perks too. 

Got my 1st Shingrix shot yesterday (saved myself $150) & will get 2nd in 2-3 months (another $150 saved); today I will change my 24-hr Fitness membership from Silver Sneakers to Silver-&-Fit; later this week will set up dental xrays & cleanings (total $200+ saved per 12 months); am in process of scheduling my cataract surgery for next month (the $250 surgicenter copay is more than covered by the fact that post-op eyeglass benefit with Kaiser actually *pays* the cost of decent eyeglasses there, on top of which I'll get a $280 credit toward *reasonably-priced* no-line bifocals or contacts); etc.

Think about it ...

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I received a notice in the mail today from the AARP endorsed United Healthcare  Insurance Company.  Literally says on the envelope "See inside for new services coming soon".  What a scam and a farce!  I am so upset over this!! I specifically picked UHC and pay a higher premium because of the Silver Sneakers program.  My premiums rise every year and now, my premiums will continue to rise and I will also have to pay for a gym membership.  I don't trust a new program to make it a reasonable cost and still have full gym membership benefits.  I called today to ask about the new program and they had no answers for me.  Are there any other supplemental plans that will cover Silver Sneakers in California?

 

PLEASE don't cancel our Silver Sneakers benefits!!!

Regular Contributor

I'm actively looking for a better choice and will post when I find it - California.

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Periodic Contributor

Hi Christine,

Thanks for the post and yes there are quite a few Medicare insurance companies in California which cover Silver Sneakers according to my research. Its difficult to find from within their website.  I've pasted the Silver Sneakers url below:

 

https://tools.silversneakers.com/Eligibility/HealthPlans?state=CA

 

Also, you can change your supplimental insurance plan in California without medical underwriting on or around your birthday.  It's called the Birthday Rule.  Check it out at:

 

http://www.insurancerus.com/medicarebirthdayrule/

 

Hope this helps.

 

Currently investigating Anthem/Blue Cross in California, their Medigap policy comes with some hearing and vision, Silver Sneakers, and costs less than initial enrollees than United Healthcare's.  Anyone out there know about Anthem's reputation?          Tom

Tom
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I'm researching today to see which company offers a good plan F with SS included.  AARP is doing us a great disservice.  Thanks for your information.

Periodic Contributor

Thanks Michael for the reply.

 

I'd no idea it would be an issue getting enrolled in their program at the gym.  (That's the problem United Healthcare gave themselves when they decided to end the relationship with Silver Sneakers and I suspect they won't do it as well, either.  Cutting costs could end up costing them.)  

 

I'm currently looking into other suppliment plans which still have Silver Sneakers.  In my initial enrollment period so I still have the option. Wonder if their enrollment numbers will go down this year.  Silver Sneakers was the reason I put them at the top of the list.  Suspect I'm not the only one. 

 

Your email is one more reason to drop my interest in United Healthcare.  I wrote directly to AARP about this.  But, I suspect AARP they may be to financially and otherwise associated with United Healthcare to advocate for us on this.  Tom 

 

 

Tom
Contributor

I am livid. have called United Health and Aarp...they told me the nearest gym under new program is 25 miles away. Hope to change insurance...that should save them some money!
Contributor

 I always believe things happen for reason I am saving a considerable amount of money by changing to my Blue Cross Blue Shield plan which includes silver sneakers thank you so much for United healthcare for not offering silver sneakers I am saving so much money by moving to a new insurance .