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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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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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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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Honored Social Butterfly

@soosh

 

AARP has their own program - lots of members don't have access to or transportation available to a fitness center.  They may not even have a Medicare plan - Medigap or Advantage.  They may have a local senior citizens center or a group of friends that get together.  So AARP gives some basics and some access via videos or instructions and articles - there are many of them.

 

Examples:

AARP - Exercise, Fitness and Workout Tips and Advice

 

AARP - Lauching Exercise Routines at 65+ and 70+ Benefits Health

 

These types of things are available to ALL their members not just the ones with a Medicare Plan bearing their name.

 

AARP gets royalties from UHC or any other vendor that has a contractual agreement with them for the use of their name.  If you look hard enough this is disclosed in the small /smaller / smallest print or should be.

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Periodic Contributor

Many of us are not interested in videos and advice.  We mainly are interested in free or afordable access to a local fitness center.  Silver Sneakers provided that!

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Totally agree but according to our local Rec Center (who opted out of their new program), retirees pay 50% of the membership and the Fitness Facility eats the other half because they should be happy to get more members. Who benefits the most from THAT arrangement? It’s a win win for UHC. Yes, they should be ashamed as well as AARP who endorses them, but there is only silence. 

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Newbie

My little gym in Alta Sierra, Grass Valley does not offer Silver Sneakers but the membership for seniors is low and it's close to home.  I wanted silver sneakers for our beach home which is on the central coast so that I didn't have to pay for two memberships.  I may have to look for a supplemental insurance outside of AARP.  the new Training Zone in the Raley's shopping center offers Silver Sneakers but for me it's not close.  I can run to my little gym if I want to get an extra run in.

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@j803478m wrote:

My little gym in Alta Sierra, Grass Valley does not offer Silver Sneakers but the membership for seniors is low and it's close to home.  I wanted silver sneakers for our beach home which is on the central coast so that I didn't have to pay for two memberships.  I may have to look for a supplemental insurance outside of AARP.  the new Training Zone in the Raley's shopping center offers Silver Sneakers but for me it's not close.  I can run to my little gym if I want to get an extra run in.


A second home on the beach and you have to pay for two memberships.  So sad!

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Newbie

I am also diappointed that Silver sneakers is being dropped.  I have a membership in our local gym but I wanted to use silver sneakers at our second home so I didn't have to have two memberships.

I have supplemental through AARP Plan J which is no longer offered.

I will consider looking for plans outside of AARP.

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Contributor

1st of the year-Unitedhealthcare is dropping SilverSneakes free coverage to health clubs. Silver Sneakers has been trying to get a response from them but to no avail-will not reply to S.S.( that was when I talked to Silver Sneakers 1st week of Oct)

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Periodic Contributor

I live in Arizona and started shopping other plans. I found BCBS of Arizona not only has a lower rate for my plan (G) but also includes the free membership to Silver Sneakers. Humana also includes Silver Sneakers but doesn't offer plan G so I can't make a price comparision.

 

Hope this helps

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Honored Social Butterfly

@JoeG314382

 

When trying to change a Medigap policy from one insurer to another or even changing plans, you should pay attention to not only the specific rules for Medigap coverage from CMS (guaranteed issue rules), you need to know how your state regulates them (state specific rules) or even how specific insurers go about determining your premiums.  There are several ways they can rate their Medigap premiums - age issued, community rated, attained age.

 

Here is the Arizona rules for Medigap coverage.  I am not in your state so you might want to double check for accuracy and up-to-date info.  If you work with a knowledgeable SHIP representative OR better yet an independent Medicare insurance broker, which represents a lot of different companies - they can make sure that you are aware of any special condition in these rules that might affect you adversely.

 

Boomer Benefits: Arizona Medicare Plans

 

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I agree with everything that has been written here concerning A) the lack of consideration by AARP in support of the aging generation B) the absolute arrogance of United Health Care in taking advantage of the relationship with AARP by making this decisiion and C) AARP continuing to have a relationship with this company.  They are receiving a great deal of business because of this recommendation and AARP needs to take action if they are going to represent me.

Further, let me add, that I would expect my insurance rates to decrease (should I stay with UHC) since I am not getting all of the advantages that I was told I would when enrolling.

In order to make my dissatifaction known I have directed a letter to the CEO of AARP and it reads as follows:

Ms. Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP, Chief Executive Officer, 601 E. Street NW, Washington DC 20049

 

I am writing concerning recent decisions made by United Healthcare in Cincinnati Ohio (and perhaps all over the country). Let me begin by stating that I selected this company for my supplemental insurance because AARP endorsed and recommended them.  Further, in my decision making process, I was looking for a company that offered Silver Sneakers at a wide variety of locations in my area.

I now find that AARP is not necessarily representing the needs of our Silver Sneakers community because of recent changes that United Healthcare has made to the program.  The bottom line is that a decision was made to no longer endorse the Silver Sneakers program.  This means that to continue with fitness we would have to pick up the full cost of the membership.

An alternative isi being suggested, that states it will pay for 50% of monthly costs at specific facilities, of which mine is not yet one.  I do understand that there are continuous negotiations taking place to add various facilities to this plan.

This is a facility that caters to the Silver Sneakers generation, which you represent.  It offers a variety of classes throughout the week that are designed to address the needs of our aging community.  Further, it allows for independent exercise and individual coaching as needed and offers very convenient hours of operation.  The facility has all the necessary equipment and includes an indoor swimming pool which meets all the requirements for those who have specialized needs for athritis and rehabilitation.  In our community this location is the answer to specialized needs as well as general health and well-being.

In addition, it offers programs of interest to Senior citizens as well as places where people can gather to play cards, have a party or just generally socialize.  Socialization being very important to those in the silver haired community.

If I wanted to select the YMCA or Planet Fitness or some other facility as my place to exercise I would have done so.  I selected Bayley Place, who met all of my needs, and the insurance provider who supported them.

Keep in mind, I am not the only one who is affected by this decision. Bayley Place will potentially lose a large number of memebers who, like me, do not want to go through the agony of changing their health care provider.

As your mission, you are to protect and look out for our best interests.  In this case, by endorsing United Healthcare you are not doing so.  In fact, you are supporting a decision the will make it harder and more uncomfortable for a group of residents in our community who focus on their physical fitness.  Finally, notification of this decision was made in such a way as to allow a minimal amount of time for investigation of other insurance possibilities. Again, your clientele are individuals who must review and understand every aspect of their decision and how it relates to their needs and financial situations.

I realize you may/may not have been part of this decision making process but I ask that you refer this to the appropriate individual with a strong recommendation that it be reconsidered.  Not only is it a questionable change, on the surface it reflects an intent to support specific large nationwide facilities (I can only assume for financial reasons) not with the best interest of clients in mind.

 

Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you wish to discuss this further please contact me using the information below.

 

Name

address

telephone number

 

 

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Contributor

Soosh

The content of your letter is on point. For those who may copy the content to generate their own letter please proof read as there are a few typos that might distract the recipient.

Also, I think we should encourage the participating health clubs to contact UHC as it is in their best financial interest. My club is a large national organization that stands to lose thousands of subsidized clients to the less expensive competition.

In addition to the AARP’s apparent lack of community commitment, many of us choose from a selection of supplement providers through a benefit provider to maintain our previous employer’s Healthcare Reimbursement Account. Those supplements are also “recommended” and as such, I would recommend engaging them to lobby UHC and AARP.

 

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Periodic Contributor

I found it simpler to switch supplement insurance providers. I went with one (Mutual of Omaha) that is much less expensive. I save more than enough money to buy an annual health club membership. Perhaps if United Healthcare loses enough customers they will rethink their business decision. 

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I got the letter here in Indiana yesterday, and I'm not happy. The Silver Sneakers benefit is what compelled me to move from the small fitness center I was attending (which had become too pricey for someone not working full-time) to the Y, which honored Silver Sneakers and allowed me to join for nothing, with no monthly fee. That was a no-brainer--even if I didn't attend classes or use the machines I could use the track and attend the paid Reformer class, which is less expensive for members. I've been doing all of the above since joining in May. And now United is pulling the rug out?! Shame on them. Shame on AARP for not advocating for its members with a company they endorse. And shame on me for not taking my husband's advice and signing with a cheaper insurance company--I thought AARP's endorsement of UHC meant something. Maybe the money I pay to belong to AARP will have to go toward paying for a new gym membership and switching to another insurance company.

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Periodic Contributor

I have medicare because of being on disability. It was healthnet and they changed to Allwell. I have been told for the past 2.5 years that silver sneakers is a benefit with medicare and that I would receive a card. Still have yet to receive any information on the program from healthnet, allwell or medicare. My agent said the local gyms knows about it and if I just go with my medicare card they will honor it.

 

The cancellation/reduced benefit that is being talked about appears to be related to UHC or other specific insurance companies. Does anyone know if medicare/disability is also cancelling this program?

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Contributor

UHC has a new plan for gym membership. Optum Fitness. 

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Regular Contributor

Outside of a letter informing me of the demise of SS thru UHC, nothing has been promoted to me in the way of a replacement.
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Contributor

From the Optum website:

"Optum Fitness Advantage is part of your UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan"

 

Not F or G plans.

There is no offering for plans other than Advantage.

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Regular Contributor

Not if you have UHC thru AARP.  Silver Sneakers has been dropped from this supplemental plan.  

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Contributor

We never received a letter informing us of losing Silver Sneakers before Jan. 1st. 2019 or we would have never signed up for AARP`s United Health Care again! It was embarassing to be told by the people at the front desk at LA Fitness that our membership had been terminated. I looked into signing up again with LA Fitness and they want 22.00 a month! What? thanks for nothing AARP and United Health Care!

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Contributor

Hey AARP.  Thanks for letting United Healthcare discontinue Silver Sneakers in Arizona.  It's the one benefit that my wife and I got via AARP by choosing the AARP/United Healthcare supplement coverage over other options.  Looks like you forgot to stand up for us with your United Healthcare endorsement.

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Periodic Contributor

One of our reasons for picking AARP is because of the Silver Sneakers benefit.  Where can I find information about the program and whether it is continuing ?

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Regular Contributor

I received a letter in the mail.
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Newbie

Check the Silver Sneakers website. I thought eligibility for this program was based more on your health insurance than on AARP membership, at least that's how I joined. My Blue Cross Medigap supplement includes it. I just went on the Silver Sneakers website and entered my Medigap info to get approved. My membership is covered 100%. (If AARP;s United Healthcare doesn't cover it, or doesn't cover it in full, that wouldn't surprise me.)
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Regular Contributor

it doesn't starting next year.
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I just signed up with AARP in April of 2018 and was told that Silver Sneakers was a part of the package that they offered me.  I was paying for a gym membership at the time and was delighted that Siver Sneakers was offered with my meidgap suppliment if I used AARP.  I request that they honor their propaganda and let us seniors have that access to a health club.  It was a deciding factor for me to go with AARP.   They do not seem to be on the ball with caring for seniors anymore.  Just another group in cahoots with the insurance industry. What a shame.

 

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I received my letter today from UHC which said I could give it to my fitness gym so I could start paying 50% of the monthly fee.  WHY is it going to cost money now?  Does everyone know that now?

 

WHAT?

 

I called UHC and told the representative that I was livid.  He told me there were many calls today from people like me.  He also said it was a corporate decision.

 

AARP?

 

I called AARP.  The representative had no knowledge of this.  She did tell me she was sorry.

 

I think AARP needs to stop endorsing UHC.  I think AARP wants its consituency to be healthy, and the way to do that is to KEEP MOVING.

 

WHO THEN?

 

I called my insurance person.  I am interested in another company who uses Silver Sneakers and allows no-cost gym use.  He has not responded yet.

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Regular Contributor


@BeckyLHunt wrote: 

WHO THEN?

 UHC.  This is a benefit offered by the insurance company (outside of the insurance contract).  They control it entirely.  According to other posts they are not the only company that has done this.


AARP?

I called AARP.  The representative had no knowledge of this.

 

Obviously not them.

 

Ron

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If representatives of AARP are being instructed to say “I have no knowledge of this”, it shows that AARP has poor communication with their customer service employees.  It seems that the Advantage insurance still includes a Fitness program such as Optum or Silver Fit, but the Supplemental Insurance for which we pay a substantial premium, has been discontinued.  Makes no sense, right? Someone else posted that the Federal government gives UHC more money for the Advantage programs - isn’t that discrimination?   Follow the money as no one seems to be able to tell the truth. 

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