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Newbie

Silver Sneakers One size does not Fit All

Are you happy with the gym selected for free membership by the Silver Sneaker bunch?  Well I am not.  I live near Grass Valley Ca., and the gym selected is old and moldy.  You cannot swim in their pool because there is a huge mass of chlorine gas lurking over it, which swimmers have to choke through.   It is very unhealthy.   They are overcrowded, fail to have even meagre comfort amenities, like benches in the dressing rooms.  I don't like it.

There is another gym in town that totally fits my requirements.  Open, spacious, a delightful and very large pool area, and yet, I can't take advantage of my Unitedhealthcare perk to join it. 

I joined UNitedhjealthcare because I felt I could justify the premium it covered gym membership.  Well it does, but not for me.  Does anyone else have this problem?

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Newbie

We have had AARP for 10+ years - No Y's in the state of DELAWARE are in the FREE membership-  Can still join for about $30.00 a month but bill is getting higher and the free offers aren't anything used by seniors- This is not right- If they don't offer something you want- I will be looking to change. Thanks

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Newbie

i was very disappointed to hear AARP will discontinue Silver Slipppers.  It was such a benefit for us seniors.  I hope you would reconsider your decisions.  You may find this was a bad decision.  Nadyne Jackson.

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I just got off the phone with AARP central in DC to petition that they re-think dropping Silver Sneakers. If most of us do that, it may be a pathway to getting it re-instated (202) 434-3525 and wade through the menus. The lady I spoke with said she'd report it to a manager and that I should expect a call back within 48 hours. They have made a decision to drop SS in every state and replace it with a nursing benefit. My argument is that better preventive services such as SS will help their bottom line by lowering demand for reparative services. They are insensitive to the fact that many of us live in isolated rural areas that don't have many facilities or resources available. We had to petition our high school fitness center to sign up for SIlver sneakers and now they dropped it.

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Periodic Contributor

I signed up for AARP medicare insurance because of Silver Sneaker which allows me to exercise for my health.  What a nasty surprise when I got a letter in Jan that the program has been discontinued.  The letter claimed that I was notified, but I don't remember seeing any communication on that!.  It is too late to change this year, but if this don't change, I will definitely resign my membership and go to a competitor at next year's open enrollment!

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While it is true you get the best pricing during Open Enrollment, you can change to another supplement at any time although you may be subjected to underwriting. I switched to Cigna effective January 2019. I was not required to undergo underwriting as an incentive to sign up. I am in WI.  

 

I just received an offer by mail from AARP United Healthcare to sign up and receive a 24% discount - the same offer I received when signing up originally 4 years ago.  During the 4 years I had UHC, the discount was decreased each year. After 10 years, the premium would revert to full price. In other words, if you drop your insurance, you may qualify for a better deal.  Therefore it pays to shop around each year even if you are satisfied with your current Supplemental plan. This advice also applies to Medicare Advantage plans as they make changes each year that may be to your “Advantage”. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Periodic Contributor

Me too.  By the time I got the letter, it is already pass the open enrollment and now I am stucked with AARP.  I am curious if anyone got the notice they sent out before the end of the year.

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Periodic Contributor

Me too.  By the time I got the letter, it is already pass the open enrollment and now I am stucked with AARP.  I am curious if anyone got the notice they sent out before the end of the year.

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Periodic Contributor

This is the operating procedure practiced by most if not all private insurance companies. It makes good business sense for their own interests. If they tell their negative changes in advance you might take your business elsewhere.  

 

Contrast that behavior with the 'boogieman"  government insurance where they tell you changes to Medicare in advance. 

 

So to protect oneself proactively making calls every year and shopping in advance is (sadly) required. 

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We are disgusted that aarp dropped the silver sneakers program! We would like a reinstatement of this program! Most seniors cannot afford a gym membership and this was a way to save aarp money and keep us healthy! BOO  to aarp ! We will be finding another insurance that pays for silversneaker!

Contributor

I use Silver Sneakers to maintain my good health, especially blood pressure. This was encouraged by my medical provider to prevent  potential strokes or heart attacks simply because of my age. I finally made that commitment to use the program. and my local vendor has the one key machine (“Cardiogym”) that really makes a difference. 

 

The fee for Silver Sneakers that I must pay now is $30 a month at my local gym.  Living on Social Security alone, this fee is not affordable and now I must drop my membership this month. 

 

It is painful to realize the following: several major insurances do provide free memberships, e.g. Blue Cross and Aetna.  Meanwhile my monthly AARP/United Health Insurance premium continues to increase; my coverage now costs $200/month. but the one benefit that made a difference has now been taken away.

 

Is there a provision that can be given for those like myself who cannot pay the new Silver Sneaker fees?

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Regular Contributor

I don’t know of any special provisions through the insurance but do you have a local Senior Center?  They may have exercise equipment and senior exercise classes available.  Our Senior Center offers both as well as many other activities.  The yearly fee is only $10.

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Having silver sneakers was a benefit used for keeping fit without medicine.

Having lost the benefit or chosing to now pay at the YMCA has only hurt AARP UHC.

I have shared this with everyone including many senior housing clients.

Shop around. Dont let UHC AARP hurt the ability to have good health.

Many cleints and friends I know will stop their AARP UHC now that this has happened.

Hopefully whoever makes the decisions for the supplemental programs at UHC will will reconsider.

Just think if thiis were your parents or grand parent .

Great companys are only as great as their leaders.

Stand up UHC. Do you want to be a leader in the industry or just another company that looks at their tremoundous profits over real people .

JM

 

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I, too, just got off the phone with AARP UHC and found their reasoning behind dropping Silver Sneakers to not make any sense. They explained they wanted to expand other services like phone a nurse and other things but I can still have an exercise program on my computer off some link they will have. I'm so frustrated with them! I'm spending close to $600 a month for all my insurance and my premiums will go up next year! Everything is going up except my income! I was fooled in thinking AARP cared about senior citizens. I know UHC doesn't. All they care about, it seems, is their bottom line. They told me not enough people were using Silver Sneakers. If it's not being used, it's not costing AARP UHC anything! This whole action makes absolutely no sense!!!

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Honored Social Butterfly


@ls63763447 wrote:

I don’t know of any special provisions through the insurance but do you have a local Senior Center?  They may have exercise equipment and senior exercise classes available.  Our Senior Center offers both as well as many other activities.  The yearly fee is only $10.


If that is the "Silver Sneakers FLEX program, you can participate at most places without having any sort of Medicare Insurance eligibility by paying the small(er) fee.  I believe that the yearly fee is based on the extent of the (specific) program which they offer - the number of trained instructors, the number and types of programs and the equipment which they have on hand.

 

Sounds like right up many seniors alley - no or low cost / exercise program / comraderie/ local

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We have an adult center (run by the city) but it has limited weight equipment and old machines. The price is right, but not the equipment. 

 

 

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Considering UHC made almost 12 billion in profits for 2017 and the fact that AARP endorses them, I feel abandoned by both in favor of corporate greed. How in the world could AARP not step in and advocate senior health. I am now given the opportunity to pay $29.99 a mo. for gym. membership because AARP let me down. "Tell it goodbye" next year AARP.

 

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Honored Social Butterfly


@332usual wrote:

Considering UHC made almost 12 billion in profits for 2017 and the fact that AARP endorses them, I feel abandoned by both in favor of corporate greed. How in the world could AARP not step in and advocate senior health. I am now given the opportunity to pay $29.99 a mo. for gym. membership because AARP let me down. "Tell it goodbye" next year AARP.

 


United Healthcare pays AARP royalties for the use of their name for marketing purposes - AARP does this with lots of different products and services.  Is that an indication that they recommend this vendor other than making money from the use of their name - you decide.

 

AARP has their own wellness and fitness program which can cover all their members not just the ones who have a Medicare policy -  True, it is not the same as Silver Sneakers but this should be where their attention should be placed - advocating health and wellness for ALL their membership - which now, I believe starts at age 50, long before a member is eligible for a Medicare plan.

 

UHC has a lot of different insurance markets - Medicare Advantage plans are their biggest market, followed by their MEDICAID managed care plans with states.  They are also very big in the Employer group market and work with them on their retiree plans (Medicare Advantage).  Their Medicare gap insurance coverage (Medigap or Medicare Supplemental policies) isn't that big compared to their other types and tends to have many players (other insurance companies).

 

ONLY about 25% of all Medicare beneficiaries have a Medicare Supplemental policy (Medigap).  They are expensive for many beneficiaries and thus are not affordable to many.

 

UHC  makes  lots of money from their Optum division - in fact, their new health and wellness program replacing Silver Sneakers in their Medicare Advantage plans is linked to the UHC Optum brand.

 

Healthcare Finance News - April 2018 - UnitedHealth Group grows first quarter profits driven by Medi...

 

Perhaps AARP would consider a royalty deal with Silver Sneakers.  Silver Sneakers can use the AARP name in return for a special deal with whatever gym that uses the program.

 

 

 

 

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Contributor

I joined SilverSneakers and a Gym a couple of months ago with this program.  I guess it's time to shop again.  AARP, your suppose to advocate for Seniors and have a program that works.  Your nothing more than a Insurance Company who claims to advocate for seniors?  Time to shop again...

Contributor

I am very upset with this decision! This was one of the reasons I decided to go with AARP.  I guess you would rather see people unhealthy. Poor decision 😡

Contributor

AARP endorses United Health Care for Medicare Supplement Plans - HOWEVER, UHC is now dropping Silver Sneakers for its own profit margin.   AARP - Why are you NOT doing something about this.  Seniors should not have to be charged a monthly fee to continue exercising thru the silver Sneakers Program - that is the reason my  husband and I went with the plan in the first place.   All the AARP lobbyists need to do is talk with UHC and Silver Sneakers could be continued at NO cost to the seniors. However, its just another way of UHC to take money out of the Senior's pockets to make more profit for themselves.  Shame on both AARP and UHC.

 

 

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Contributor

A couple of years ago, BC/BS dropped silver sneakers, so I dropped them.  There are other insurance providers that cost less than UHC with have better coverage (depending on your location).  

Contributor

Shame on AARP for providing supplemental plans that does not incourge SAilver Sneekers programs for low cost benefit or free benefit.  Why?  Because we retirees are scammed by AARP whos says that it is an advocate to retirees but provides products that does not promote physical activity wellness for free as with silver sneekers.  United Health Care is scamming reitrees by canceling silver sneekers as a free benefit and now is offering "Personal Health Wellness Resources" program as an alternative.  UHC says the this new benefit is offered free with their premium cost but folks it isn't.  Yoouo will find out the thier new program covers 50% and you will have to pay the balance 50%.  This is another senior scam and you are being scammed by AARP to for letting this happen as our advocate.  This is just anther increase to the UHC premium that you pay.  Shame on both for scamming senior.  Call or write your Senator today.

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AARP's community reply to members regarding UHC dropping Silver Sneakers is weak.  Basically, it just carbon copies UHC's spin on dropping Silver Sneakers.  I hate it when somebody tries to tell me that replacing a no cost benefit with one that will cost me is somehow better.  Frankly, I find an online fitness coach to be worthless and hardly a benefit.  AARP makes no claim for even trying to convince UHC to keep Silver Sneakers.  Hey UHC, if you want to provide better benefits to more subscribers, why not keep Silver Sneakers for those who have access to participating facilities, AND give the 50-50 split benefit to those who can't use Silver Sneakers?

Honored Social Butterfly

What 's really " FREE " or NO cost ?

As others have shown in the various post on this topic, they have found cheaper plans.

 

Under a regular Supplemental plan (Medigap) there is no assurance that any of these "EXTRA" benefits will stay in place on a policy forever because the coverage is not a part of what a Medigap plan has to cover per Medicare.

 

I have not seen how these so called new "Plan F EXTRA or Plus" plans by Medigap insurers in some states word these extra benefits in their policy, if any different than a regular Plan F.  Do they give a better (contractual) assurance that these extra benefits stay for the life of the policy?

 

 

 

Contributor

I agree with you 100% and understand if United Healthcare decides to drop the benefit.  What I do take exception to is AARP standing behind or suggesting this as the Healtcare plan that they recomend.  My reason for this is that they are constantly suggesting the benefits of exercise, how important it is to stay active and to interact with people.  At the facility I attend this is all offered and meets a lot of needs with special classes, swimming, lessons and/or independant exercise.  Although it is possible to obtain 1/2 price membership by changing to another offering, many people who attend this facility on a regular basis cannot afford that.  They are on a limited budget. AARP has really let us down on this one.

Contributor

I tooam very upset about UHC  dropping Silver Sneakers.  I am one  of those that can not afford to pay for a membership.  The benefits of Silver Sneakers is priceless to me.  I have met new friends, enjoyed outings not to mention the exercise programs that have improved my health.  Apparently that is not important to UHC  or ARRP  anymore.  Thanks for letting me know after the sign up period.  There is always next year!

Periodic Contributor

I was told that in California, for those of us with a medigap supplement policy, we can switch to another medigap company during the 30 day following our birthday.  We cannot be turned down or charged more due to pre-existing conditions.  It's known as the California Medigap Birthday Rule.  Here's a link to more about it:  https://www.senior65.com/medicare/article/how-does-californias-new-medigap-birthday-rule-work

 

Oregon also has a birthday rule, and my understanding is that Connecticut and New York have similar protections.  If you live in one of these states and are interested in switching, check it out.

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Periodic Contributor

Okay, AARP has a right to drop Silver Sneakers from their benefits, but what burns me is that I received my letter informing me of the change  2 days after the "open enrollment" deadline!  Lame!!