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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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Periodic Contributor

Re Plan G vs F. Sorry, I did not see your question until just now. 

 

Plan G does not cover the part B deductible. Plan F does. 

 

Switching companies cut monthly premium by $60.00. Swithing from plan F to G  cut it an additional $50.00 per month. Total anual reduction = $1,320.00 if I add back in the part B $183.00 defuctible it is still going to be $1,137.00 less per year. 

 

Or if I just look at the plan G vs F premium difference worse case it is $600.00 less premium minus max deductible $183.00 = $417.00 savings

 

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My motto is "always verify ".  I want to see it in black and white if at all possible.  If an insurance agent tells me my dr is in there plan I want too SEE them listed.  If an agent tells me I can go anywhere that accepts Medicare I read the papers they leave... especially the fine print.  Caught one last year who said that, but in reading the fine print of the papers she left the policy said that if not "in network" it would not be covered except emergencies.   LOL

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My friend who lives in TX has UHC/AARP coverage and she was moved to Optum Fitness and doesn't like their fitness program.  There are no gyms or classes that are close to her.  I took her to the event at my Silver Sneakers class a couple of weeks ago and she loved it.  I told her I plan to switch plans to keep this benefit and now she is too.  I did look online about the program and have gone to the Silver Sneakers facebook page and several people on there are complaining and upset about the differences in the benefits. I guess it just depends on what you really want from the benefit.  I'lll stick with Silver Sneakers.      

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You need to check your policies.. I know some of them are replacing Silver Sneakers with a different plan...because of this kind of thing (and this is happening in various parts of the country).  Please note that, at least in Green Bay, WI having Silver Sneakers to use the Y next year is useless.  Please read this carefully all the way down to the faq regarding UHC's replacement for SS:

https://www.greenbayymca.org/programs/health-and-fitness/active-older-adults/silversneakers/

 

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@karenp534752 wrote:

You need to check your policies.. I know some of them are replacing Silver Sneakers with a different plan...because of this kind of thing (and this is happening in various parts of the country).  Please note that, at least in Green Bay, WI having Silver Sneakers to use the Y next year is useless.  Please read this carefully all the way down to the faq regarding UHC's replacement for SS:

https://www.greenbayymca.org/programs/health-and-fitness/active-older-adults/silversneakers/

 

Check for what?  We know we have Silver Sneakers so it must be in the documentation somewhere.  It has already been established that UHC can cancel Silver Sneakers because they have already done it in several states. 

 

I assume because this is an AARP forum that when you say "some of them" you mean United Health Care the AARP insurer.  If not, who?

 

What different plan? 

 

This is an issue between UHC and the Y.  This is your locale Y probably not renewing it's contract with UHC.  I can go to the Y that's about 20 miles away but the one down the street doesn't have SS.  The Y's at least seem to have individual agreements.

 

The greenbayymca.org site sounds like so much marketing to me.  Either UHC is compensating your Y in order to soften the blow of cancellation ( this supposedly has already been done in other states with all of the gyms for at least a year) or the Y is trying to hold on to the members it has through UHC by discounting membership.  Don't count on getting that after a year.

 

 

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It the supplement plans that are dropping the Silver Sneakers benefit. The Mdeicare Advantage HMO option still includes the benefit.  This is simpl6 a hidden price increase on the supplement plans. The Optum benefit will cover about half the fitness membership at participating centers. In reality, it pays the center nothing unless the member attends at least four times a month. Onl6 then do they the fitness center any money. 

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I learned yesterday our UHC Advantage plan is dropping Silver Sneakers for the Optum plan. We live in Southeastern Wisconsin. Evidently it's being done on all plans including Supplement. Fortunately some fitness centers like the YMCA's are on the Optum plan while Gold's Gym's aren't which is my primary facility

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According to my agent the new fitness plan that UHC/AARP will offer will be one that is very different from Silver Sneakers.  No classes, no social events and I LOVE my instructors because they know me and it just won't be the same.  So I switched to a plan that I can keep my Silver Sneakers and go to a gym that is close to my home.  The other plan didn't have a gym in my area.  I'm glad I found out before it was too late.

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I called and checked with my Y.  I was told they know all about the new fitness plan, and all the classes that are called SS in past will be just Senior classes and open to those in the new plan. Like I said... I never take what an insurance agent tells me...I research myself to verify it.  If I cannot verify it either online or by a phone call to the source, I take it as a selling tactic.  

 

The Y I use is calling in an independent insurance agency to station someone there to change the people over to the AARP plans with the new fitness coverage.  

 

Ps... some of the Y sites I found that dropped SS did so when people could not change plans.  

Look at this one.. dropped it in october of 2014.

 http://myinnovativehealth.com/2017/04/03/silver-sneakers-innovative-health-fitness/

 

This one is one that confirms this is happening a lot.... not the insurance plans dropping, but the Y's doing it:

http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2015/11/silver-sneakers-program-discontinued-at-local-ymcas

 

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Inovative Health & Fitness is not an affiliate of the YMCA. They elected to withdraw from the SS program because too many SS participants in the Milwaukee area chose to use their club and SS was not paying them as much for these participants as their private members were paying. It was a business decision. In central Oklahoma, the regional YMCA, Planet Fitness and Gold's Gym among others currently participate in SS. Since UHC has elected to drop SS as a benefit of their medagap plans (except for Medicare Advantage, Part C), those of us purchasing UHC are receiving a hidden price increase of $120 to $600 depending on which of the athletic facilities you participate. Thats' ten to fifty dollars a month on top of the thirtyfive dollar a month increase in the plan F premium.

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I have part C, the AARP Medicare Complete.... a medicare advantage plan.  The choices of AARP Medicare advantage plans in my area are zero premium, $26 a month premium, or $76 a month, all including drug coverage, and all replacing the SS with their optum fitness.  Again, without optum fitness Green Bay seniors would either have to pay their own Y fitness membership  (no matter if they have a different plan that included SS or not), or get it free with the AARP UHC optum. I am in Wisconsin.  Re the medigap plans...  Wisconsin is different... we do not have plans with letter names so I really have no clue about them.  I lived in Wi all my life so that is all I am familiar with, both with what my parents had (a medigap) and for myself.

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The other links I found are dated back from 2014 to now in various parts of the country.  That dates back BEFORE the AARP plans started removing SS.  The reasons the Y's gave (if they provided one) is over crowding. They were unable to handle the size of the people using their facility.  My guess is the Baby Boomers overwhelmed them.

 

 Btw... in my area the AARP plans are not the only ones dropping SS.  The other plans are just plain dropping them and not replacing them with anything else. The AARP plans are the only ones taking SS out that replaced it with the same coverage under a different name.   It appears only 1 company in this area still has SS on them for 2018

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Some of the AARP policies in some areas took took out Silver Sneakers and replaced them with Optum Fitness Advantage.  If your policy removed Silver Sneakers check to see if it had Optum Fitness instead.  

 

Did you read through the link I provided?  The Y's are pulling out of Silver Sneakers.  Not all the Y's everywhere, but it is happening all over the country little by little.  As the YMCA page says in the link, they accept the AARP United Healthcare fitness instead of SS.

 

  This link is talking about my area in Green Bay Wi.  When I saw posts in here not in my area who are complaining about Silver Sneakers being taken out of their AARP policies I did a little research on Y's pulling out of SS and found out it is happening in many places in the country.

 

 You need to know that in Green Bay wI next year if my AARP policy had SS on it, I would not be able to use it in the local Y's.  The plans that still have SS in will find them useless next year in Green Bay Y's.  My insurance agent explained to me how my AARP medicare plan did not LOSE my fitness coverage by taking out SS;  it protected it.  I do not just take my agents word; I researched it, and found the link I shared with you, as well as similar webpages in different areas saying the same kind of thing. 

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I guess that AARP will hear a loud SWISH as members drop United Health Care insurance.

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Not happy at all with UHC and AARP discontuing Silver Sneakers in Jan 2018. 

Very disapointed in both.  What happened to preventave care?

 

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Were is this happening?
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Wow!  I usually do not read these forums. The Silver Sneakers membership is going to be the determining factor in my selection of a supplemental Medicare policy.  This is really a shame. 

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I am in Michigan. Do you know what other insurance companies might offer Silver Sneakers with the Medicare Supplement? I have not been able to find one and I want to leave United Health Care for taking this very valuable benefit away and still raising my rate!

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Try contacting SS:

 

GENERAL SILVERSNEAKERS PHONE NUMBER

If you are a member or want to see if you are eligible:
Call toll-free: 866-584-7389, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST. TTY: 711
E-mail: support@silversneakers.com

Contributor

I also received a letter from MI United Healthcare telling me and my husband that Silver Sneakers would no longer be covered by my insurance plan.  I spoke with a representative about this matter and was told that strong support was shown for the alternative benefits they will offer in place of Silver Sneakers and that these benefits would support a larger number of their membership. 

These are 1. Personalized wellness resources.  (this involves phone and wellness coaches and joining online groups. 2. A registered nurse by phone. 3. Community resources, healthcare cost saving opportunities and social services.  

All these may or may not be exciting to others but I seriously doubt it takes the place of joining a Silver Sneakers group where you have both social interaction and physical exercise.  I suspect some of the new services might be a means of financial reimbursement for United Healthcare from Medicare.  

AARP should use their immense lobbying power to support all their members in making Silver Sneakers available.  As you have so often preached there is nothing more medically and mentally important than getting up and out of the house and exercising.  Group interaction is an important part of this.

I have supported AARP in all their requests to help lobby for other good issues.  Please help us to keep Siliver Sneakers as a part of the AARP United Healthcare plan in all states.

 

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The reply you got from AARP/United is a big joke.   You wote: I spoke with a representative about this matter and was told that strong support was shown for the alternative benefits they will offer.

The new scheme is not in effect yet but they say it has "strong support".

 

If anyone knows of a competitively priced Plan F that will offer Silver Sneakers in 2017, please post that info.

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(I hope this message works.  The site is not well designed in my opinion.)  I am also in Michigan and am disappointed that Silver Sneakers has been eliminated as a benefit.  The explanation letter from AARP/United is nonsense.  "AARP no longer provides this benefit.  But we arranged for you to pay a discounted price to join Silver Sneakers on your own.  And AARP/United has some other worthless fitness benefits.  Why you can phone and speak to someone for advice."  Big deal.

 

I cannot find a supplemenatl plan that offers Silver Sneakers as a benefit and that has a suitable premium.  By the way BC/BS may not offer Silver Sneakers as a benefit with its supplemenatl plan.  It does offer Silver Sneakers with a Medicare Advantage plan.

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This site is horrible. I think it's designed to keep us from submitting feedback.

 

Last June I learned that my YMCA would start charging me again in January 2017. I was told United Healthcare and YMCAs nationwide had agreed to start charging Silver Sneakers members 50 percent, starting in 2017. 

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@j73671b wrote:

@j73671b wrote:

. . . . . But we arranged for you to pay a discounted price to join Silver Sneakers on your own. 

 

I cannot find a supplemenatl plan that offers Silver Sneakers as a benefit and that has a suitable premium.  By the way BC/BS may not offer Silver Sneakers as a benefit with its supplemenatl plan.  It does offer Silver Sneakers with a Medicare Advantage plan.



Yes, Medicare Advantage plans sometimes use extra benefits to lure in insurees.  Rarely is this sort of extra benefit offered in a Medigap (supplemental) policy.  However, if you do happen to find one, take note that certain pre-existing health conditions may not be immediately or fully covered under a new policy.

(See the heading of " REPLACING YOUR EXISTING MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT POLICY WITH ONE FROM A DIFFERENT COMPANY" at this link:)

Michigan Dept of Insurance and Financial Services: Medicare Supplement Policies

 

Have you checked the discounted price they are offering?  Seems like the easier, softer way if you are otherwise pleased with the supplemental policy.  Remember that ALL supplemental plans under whichever alphabet must cover the same things and only vary by price normally.

 

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Medicare Advantage plans still offer Silver Sneakers.  I have concluded that in Michigan no Medigap plan offers Silver Sneakers anymore.  Research informs me that S.S. was a benefit with AARP since 2008.  They dropped it like other Medigap providers and so it will not be available in 2017.

 

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Okay, just had to step in here.  Medicare Supplement plans like plan F, G, N, what have you work the same, regardless of which company you purchase it from.  They pay their portion, after Medicare has approved the charge, based on the letter plan selected.  What is the difference between one company's plan F and anothers?

  • COST
  • How long they increase the cost based on AGE
  • and added perks

The COST piece is "what does it cost NOW" factor, that is frequently used to sway one's decision.  But, the other factor to check is "at what age will they cease to increase the rate simply based on your age?"  IE: If you were 85, what would your rate be, if you were still on the plan you want?

 

These are the things that matter most in a health plan.  Because frankly, that's what affects my pocket book.

 

The added perks, are just that.  Added perks, that can be discontinued. It's not great news, and unfortunately, as I read, there may be other plans that have silversneakers.  What you have to decide is, is the added cost worth it.

 

Here in California, AARP Medicare Supplements offer SilverSneakers, but so do other major carriers of Medicare Supplements.  But, word of caution, it's expensive I hear, to live here.  Here is hoping that you all have a fantastic, and safe holiday.

 

Lance 

Twitter: @LHIS_Lance

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United Healthcare is also discontinuing Silver Sneakers in Kentucky.  Any ideas on how we can fight this?

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I believe I have been ripped off by AARP UHC and have been unable to contact anyone who can provide any sort of answer other than to refer/transfer  me to someone else Click dial tone.  I've tried writing to UHC and never have received a reply

PROBLEM:   I have had Medicare Supp Plan J (grandfathered in now no longer offered) since 2006

I have a letter from  AARP noting that no changes will be made in the plan in spite of the fact it is no longer offered

Prior to this year AARP paid for Silver Sneaker now, months belatedly the facility I attended has informed my the UHC no longer pays for Silver Sneakers in the State of Florida

I have had no long via phone nor mail with UHC Silver Sneakers or AARP  No one has a relevant Email address. 

Any help or advise short of hiring a lawyer which is cost prohibitive will be appreciated

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@nelsonds60 wrote:

I believe I have been ripped off by AARP UHC and have been unable to contact anyone who can provide any sort of answer other than to refer/transfer  me to someone else Click dial tone.  I've tried writing to UHC and never have received a reply

PROBLEM:   I have had Medicare Supp Plan J (grandfathered in now no longer offered) since 2006

I have a letter from  AARP noting that no changes will be made in the plan in spite of the fact it is no longer offered

Prior to this year AARP paid for Silver Sneaker now, months belatedly the facility I attended has informed my the UHC no longer pays for Silver Sneakers in the State of Florida

I have had no long via phone nor mail with UHC Silver Sneakers or AARP  No one has a relevant Email address. 

Any help or advise short of hiring a lawyer which is cost prohibitive will be appreciated


Wow, can't believe you still have a Medigap Plan J since there have been no sales of that plan since mid 2010.  I bet the premiums are pretty expensive now.

My mother was on it and I elected to keep her on it until her death a few years later; even way back then, premiums were escalating.

 

Anyway, to answer your question about the Silver Sneakers -

Medicare actually defines the set benefits under each of the Supplemental (Medigap) plans. Then the states determine how premiums are set and they regulate the plans.

 

The Medicare set benefits for Plan J did not include anything about the Silver Sneakers program - that must have been a benefit added by the insurer to perhaps get your business.

 

The only thing that Medicare has anything to do with is the set benefits.

The insurer has to cover those set benefits as long as you elect to keep the Plan J.  But they don't have to cover the Silver Sneakers added benefit to comply with Medicare rules of coverage.

 

You might question this at the state level - the office of insurance; I doubt that the SHIP office would be able to help you - just contact the Dept of Insurance in your state; they might can tell you if there is any state recourse.

 

With that said, if your premiums have escalated since the demise of Plan J bringing in new clients, maybe you should look around for a different plan if the medical underwriting in your state is not too bad for you, if applicable.

Plan F would probably be the closest to Plan J in benefits but Plan F is scheduled to go away soon too, I think, 2020.  Don't know if Plan F is still being sold.

 

Here is blog post discussing Plan J, what the Medicare set benefits are/were and how this has changed with new rules from the ACA (Obamacare) on preventive care.  I do not know when this biog post was written and it is by no means an endorsement because you have to decide on that coverage and from whom.

The blog post just has some good descriptive information.

 

Medicare Supplement Plan J - Liberty Medicare Blog

 

Hope something here help you.

 

 

 

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Silver Sneakers is a third party program that UHC added to their products at "no extra cost." It is unralated to the standardized package for Medicare benefits under any of the options, A through J.

UHC has decided to drop Silver Sneakers because it costs them money each time on of us uses it and we subscribers to their plan used this benefit more than they anticipated. You will recieve a letter advising that it is "being replaced by a variety of new services" which is marketing speak for you will get many fewer options and benefits for a much higher total price!