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Silver Sneakers being droped by AARP recommended insurer

I guess like all who have the "silver sneakers" card will become another worthless trash item.

United Health Care will discontinue your membership starting 1/1/18.

I am glad I went and purchased my own gym since but it is my guess that many others

do not have the money or the room for it like I do.

I had been using mine for treadmill and sauna during the cold times. the rest of the year i was

wlaking locally or golf course walking and swinging.

 

I think AARP might just search out another insurance company....as I might do on my own.....

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One more number to factor in when deciding to stay/go with UHC and AARP -- the COLA "raise" in 2019.  It could mean $30 or so more income/month for the year -- which could be used to pay the 50% share of the gym membership.  But still...Grrrrrr UHC and AARP!

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True, but then you have used up the COLA and don't get to use it for everything else that goes up -- electricity, cable, taxes, etc.

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@ls63763447 wrote:

They pay for NOTHING!  You, however, pay 1/2 the price of the membership price per month.  I was told by our Rec Center that they do not reimburse them for the other half which is why they rejected being part of their new program.


Who pays the Rec Center for the SilverSneakers program offered under the AARP/ UHC brand?

Tivity Health, the parent company for the SilverSneakers program

OR

United Healthcare, the private insurer for these AARP branded Medicare policies - MA plans as well as Medigap plans - that are discontinuing the SilverSneakers program for one of their own making.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Silver Sneakers is being discontinued as of January 1, 2019 according to the letter UHC/AARP sent.  So they would still be covering your gym membership until then

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I'm in Arizona.  My monthly premium went up $20 and now with this will cost (depending on the club) a minimum of $25.  That's a big jump!.  Does anyone know of a plan that has Silver Sneakers for 2019?

 

Scottsdaler

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In Connecticut Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield has Silver Sneakers and their 2019 premium is less than my UHC 2018 premium.  Try your local BC/BS office.

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@Zaq12ws wrote:

In Connecticut Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield has Silver Sneakers and their 2019 premium is less than my UHC 2018 premium.  Try your local BC/BS office.


All about Medicare Supplemental plans (Medigap plans) in Connecticut

https://www.ehealthmedicare.com/medicare-supplement-by-state/medicare-supplement-insurance-plans-con...

 

Just make sure you understand the details.

State details are important.

Medicare rule details for switching Medigap policies are also important.

https://www.medicare.gov/index.php/supplements-other-insurance/when-can-i-buy-medigap/switching-medi...

 

How to switch Medigap policies

If you decide to change insurance companies, call the new insurance company and arrange to apply for your new Medigap policy. If your application is accepted, call your current insurance company, and ask for your coverage to end. The insurance company can tell you how to submit a request to end your coverage.

Medigap free-look period

You have 30 days to decide if you want to keep the new Medigap policy. This is called your "free look period." The 30-day free look period starts when you get your new Medigap policy. You'll need to pay both premiums for one month.

 

Don't cancel your first Medigap policy until you've decided to keep the second Medigap policy. On the application for the new Medigap policy, you'll have to promise that you'll cancel your first policy.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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I will lose my Silver Sneakers in January, so even though I didn't think I could change insurances, I decided to call my insurance broker. Surprise! I'm eligible for a guaranteed issue (which means no "applying") from another very large provider that will give me Silver Sneakers AND will cost significantly less per month. The coverage, deductables, etc. are the same. Check with your broker, you may be eligible for a better deal as well. Bub- bye UHC!!

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I would really like to know who the new recommended company turns out to be.

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@goliath

In your previous post you called your current plan - a "supplement".   I will assume you do mean it is one of the alphabet choices of a Medigap plan.

 

Various state rules also affect how easy or how hard it is to switch Medigap plans - concerning things like underwriting and any determined period when a pre-existing condition might be excluded. 

 

The way insurers figure how their premium is calculated also makes a difference - age issued, community rated or attained age - in the premium and how fast or slow it might escalate.

 

Can you share with the group what state you are in and how the premium of your new policy is calculated or the alphabet plan you picked and the new insurer.  The state matters a lot.

 

ALL Medigap plans (with the same alphabet ) are the same in Medicare coverages - The Feds regulate that coverage.  Plan F is the same with all insurers, same with Plan G - the only thing different is the premium which they set.

 

The Silver Sneakers program is an EXTRA benefit, meaning it is not regulated to be a benefit of any Medigap plan - so it can leave one as easily as it can leave another.

 

But glad you are pleased with your new pick.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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I am in Ohio and yes I'm refering to the Medigap - in this case Plan N- program. I was told this offer is thru UHC's biggest competitor. (Yes they gave me the name) Most Ohio folks know who that is.That's why I suggest people contact their broker to see if there are any special offers, like I did. This offer is through my broker and only for folks who are already using them. My point being that you don't know if you don't ask. As for the price difference, it's about $23.00/month and the insurance rate increases average about 6-8% per year which is about $7.88/mo, (same as UHC has been) so it will take 3-4 years to catch up to what I would pay UHC now.) Is it perfect? Probably not, but I have several friends on this policy and they are satisfied. Are they trying to take UHC customers? I'm sure they are. But saving $276 next year and getting another year of Silver Sneakers adds up to $550+ saved next year. Does Ohio have a pre-existing condition clause-yes, which is why I figured I couldn't switch, but this company has waived it for this year with this insurance broker. AND it does send a message to UHC. My Humana Rx went up $10.00 mo. to $ $27.50 next year and I'm dumping them as well for a $15.00/mo plan. With Good Rx I can get many of my regular prescriptions cheaper anyway. The insurance companies bet on people not paying attention and not changing when they can save money. It's time "we the people" send them a message that we're tired of their practices. 

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UPDATE from my 10/18 comment: I've had Anthem Plan G for almost a year. Other than the first $185./year, it pays for EVERYTHING except, of course Part D Prescriptions. I'm VERY happy with Anthem and with Plan G. I was still getting bills for co-pays from UHC in April and May 2019 from the year before! Why they took so long, I'll never know, but once I was totally on Anthem and paid my $185, I've not paid a penny more for anything. So nice not to worry about whether I have the money for the co-pays/deductibles when I need medical care! .
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@goliath

 

Of course, everyone should check if they are interested in switching Medigap plans.  I often recommend speaking to a knowledgable  SHIP representative, with accent on the knowledgeable, or a local independent Medicare insurance broker who represents many different insurers to find out their options.

 

However - the Medicare.gov site says NOT to cancel your old Medigap policy until the new one is approved, in hand and is the way you understand the coverage and in this case, the special offering too.  Medicare.gov says to do it this way even if for (1) month you end up paying (2) premiums for a month.

 

 

How to switch Medigap policies

If you decide to change insurance companies, call the new insurance company and arrange to apply for your new Medigap policy. If your application is accepted, call your current insurance company, and ask for your coverage to end. The insurance company can tell you how to submit a request to end your coverage.

 

Medigap free-look period

You have 30 days to decide if you want to keep the new Medigap policy. This is called your "free look period." The 30-day free look period starts when you get your new Medigap policy. You'll need to pay both premiums for one month.

 

Don't cancel your first Medigap policy until you've decided to keep the second Medigap policy. On the application for the new Medigap policy, you'll have to promise that you'll cancel your first policy.

 

Medicare.gov - Switching Medigap policies

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Regular Contributor


@GailL1 wrote:

@goliath

In your previous post you called your current plan - a "supplement".   I will assume you do mean it is one of the alphabet choices of a Medigap plan.

___________________________________________________________________


For those who don't know.   Medicare Supplement Insurance(original name I think) and Medigap are synonymous.  The millennials couldn't handle three consecutive words.  Smiley Happy
Ron
Plan J (grandfathered) Virginia
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@CRTSR wrote:

@GailL1 wrote:

@goliath

In your previous post you called your current plan - a "supplement".   I will assume you do mean it is one of the alphabet choices of a Medigap plan.

___________________________________________________________________


For those who don't know.   Medicare Supplement Insurance(original name I think) and Medigap are synonymous.  The millennials couldn't handle three consecutive words.  Smiley Happy
Ron
Plan J (grandfathered) Virginia

HA, HA - Good one - perhaps we should all start referring to Medigap plans as MSI - (alphabet letter).  

 

You will see many of these already in use:

MA - Medicare Advantage

PDP - Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D)

MA-PD - Medicare Advantage plan with an included prescription drug plan

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Plan N with UHC. I am in Ohio and just received notice of the Silver Sneakers cancellation a couple weeks ago; along with paperwork to take to a gym for a 50% discount. I travel extensively and will no longer be able to afford the dues at all the  gyms I use even at the 50% discount. 

 

Of particular interest, in 2017 United HealthCare Group had an operating income of $15.2 billion ( with a "b") up 18% year over year. And they can no longer afford caring for senior welfare with the Silver Sneakers program? Corporate greed may just destroy our republic.

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"The Silver Sneakers program is an EXTRA benefit, meaning it is not regulated to be a benefit of any Medigap plan - so it can leave one as easily as it can leave another."

Until I hear otherwise I'll have to assume this was the choice of UHC not SS. Even if SS left UHC, which I doubt, it would have still come down to a bottom line issue.
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@MikeN262953 wrote:
"The Silver Sneakers program is an EXTRA benefit, meaning it is not regulated to be a benefit of any Medigap plan - so it can leave one as easily as it can leave another."

Until I hear otherwise I'll have to assume this was the choice of UHC not SS. Even if SS left UHC, which I doubt, it would have still come down to a bottom line issue.

Of course it was initiated by UHC - they want to build one of their own.

Star Tribune -Nov. 06 2017 - United Health Group Enters Senior Fitness Market Race

 

plus AARP needed a health and fitness program which was accessible to all their 50 + membership age groups   So they might want to set up one of their on too.  They are working with Trivity on such a plan.

 

SilverSneakers program is owned by Tivity Health.

 

There are tons of senior health and wellness programs out there - now there are even more.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Contributor

Excellent article in that newspaper article link your published. Explains much of the thinking behind the scenes on these senior fitness programs and how the developers can make money on them.
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WOW!  THANK YOU GAIL1!

YOU FOUND OUT WHY!

MIKE

UnitedHealth Group enters senior fitness market race

The Optum Fitness Advantage plan is seen by analysts as competing with popular "SilverSneakers" program. 
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@MVALLEY59 wrote:

WOW!  THANK YOU GAIL1!

YOU FOUND OUT WHY!

MIKE

UnitedHealth Group enters senior fitness market race

The Optum Fitness Advantage plan is seen by analysts as competing with popular "SilverSneakers" program. 

I have posted on this subject and others many times during the last year.  I try to post things which affect the lives of Medicare beneficiaries.

 

Here is MORE to the story - very important - as always, you cannot just look at any one specific thing and come to a complete conclusion.  Everything about Medicare is complicated in its workings.

NYT 07/20/2018 - Medicare Advantage Is About to Change. Here’s What You Should Know.

 

AARP had an article on it -

AARP 09/04/2018 - 7 Ways Medicare Will Improve in 2019

 

To understand exactly what is happening here you have to look at the whole picture and understand the differences in Medicare Advantage and Medigap (Medicare Supplemental) plans.  Many senior beneficiaries don't understand the difference -

 

These new benefits which can now be covered by Medicare Advantage plans, at the discretion of the underwriting private insurer - are benefits that are NOT covered by traditional Medicare and thus are NOT offered under any Medigap (Medicare Supplemental) plan.

 

Remember a Medicare Advantage plan can be changed yearly by the Medicare beneficiary - that is the reason for the yearly annual enrollment.  But these extra benefits can also change at that time.  The ANNUAL open enrollment is a chance for beneficiaries to look at their health needs and the offerings of any Medicare Advantage plan offered in their area and determine if one of them is their best choice for the next year.  Medicare Advantage plans must offer the same benefits which traditional Medicare does but in a different way.  With this new rule, they can offer these extra benefits on an onging OR annual basis. 

 

Health and Wellness programs for MA beneficiaries are part of these extra benefits and can change from year to year, it is up to the private Medicare insurer to develop their plans EACH YEAR.

 

Medigap (Medicare Supplemental ) plans are different - they are ONLY Gap coverage connected to traditional Medicare.  They are many times harder to change for the beneficiary - if not impossible in some cases.    Medigap policies only HAVE TO cover the cost differences between the amount Medicare pays and the amount the left for the beneficiary to pay to providers that accept Medicare assignment - deductibles, coinsurance.  If there are any extra benefits used as enticements to get a beneficiary to buy a certain brand of Medigap - they can be changed  or eliminated at any time.

 

I am sure that these new Medicare Advantage rules are being used as an encouragement for beneficiaries to sign up for them - and in many instances, depending upon the specific insurer extra benefit, they may help a beneficiary out greatly - however, seniors will have to review these plans annually for their own benefit. 

 

1/3 of seniors now are enrolled in MA plans.  This rule change may add to these numbers substantially and changing back to traditional Medicare (with ot without a Medigap plan) is difficult sometimes, if not impossible (with a Medigap) - depending upon the Medigap rules, including state rules.

 

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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I spoke to Representative of UHC yesterday. She told me the new program of paying 50% gym membership fee at “participating facilitirs” affects ALL AARP insurance plans  - Complete, Advantage, and Medigap. So still confused. 

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@ls63763447 wrote:

I spoke to Representative of UHC yesterday. She told me the new program of paying 50% gym membership fee at “participating facilitirs” affects ALL AARP insurance plans  - Complete, Advantage, and Medigap. So still confused. 


That's because they ( UHC ) has started their own (Medicare plans) senior health and wellness program - Optum Fitness Advantage.

 

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Gail - regarding Optum Fitness Advantage.

 

I live just a few miles outside of Washington, DC.  I just did a zip code search on the Optum website for nearby facilities.  Guess what!  None.  Where in the heck is this program available, if it's not available within a 25 mile radius of Capitol Hill?? 

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@halbanes

 

Yes, it does appear to me that they haven't built it very well and we know that they have had at least a year to build it.  What is the best way to build it since they don't seem to know the fitness center of choice for their millions of beneficiaries. 

 

That is why I posted somewhere that I don't think that UHC knew the fitness places people were using -'they paid Tivity Health and Tivity kept these fitness center names under wraps - Tivity Health paid the fitness centers probably also on a flat contract fee perhaps based on the number of beneficiaries under certain plans which included the Silver Sneaker program.

 

No even a Y in your area ?  Well they still have til 01/01/2019 to find themselves some facilities in local areas.  Optum Fitness Advantage is only offered to those who have a Med Advantage - you are the 1st to reference the Health My Way for AARP/ UHC Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) plans.  

 

Perhaps check the the site every few weeks to see if it fill in at all.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Thanks. I get it now. So AARP should come up with their own Fitness Program, and make available for FREE to Medigap customers.

 

The current program for 2019 just is not appealing and I won’t participate.  I don’t want to pay an added fee per month for a gym membership. and I don’t want to sit in front of a computer by myself to exercise. The fee I consider a hidden increase in the premium and the Healthyyourway.com website is a waste.  

 

I can join our local Senior Center for $10 a year. They have exercise classes and other activities but no pool. 

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@ls63763447 wrote:

Thanks. I get it now. So AARP should come up with their own Fitness Program, and make available for FREE to Medigap customers.

 

The current program for 2019 just is not appealing and I won’t participate.  I don’t want to pay an added fee per month for a gym membership. and I don’t want to sit in front of a computer by myself to exercise. The fee I consider a hidden increase in the premium and the Healthyyourway.com website is a waste.  

 

I can join our local Senior Center for $10 a year. They have exercise classes and other activities but no pool. 


Perhaps AARP can just go up on the membership cost for everybody so that they can "give" this extra benefit to those that want it - Ha, HA. (being sarcastic)  AARP already has information available to members - there are videos, articles written for all age groups (50+). 

 

I did read that Tivity Health (parent company to the Silver Sneakers(R) program) was coming up with a program called Flip50 which AARP members (50+) could participate in at a discount.

PRNewswire August 02, 2018 - Tivity Health Announces flip50 Healthy Lifestyle Program Available to A...

 

Nothing is actually ever "FREE" -somebody pays -  if this sort of health and fitness is important or needed to a person to keep them healthy / healthier as they increase in age - PRICELESS, perhaps the budget needs to be adjusted.  Medigap policies aren't really cheap, measuring them based on what they are required (legislated) to cover.  Low income seniors don't have Medigap plans - if they are very low,low income seniors they have Medicare/Medicaid and there are no "free" health and fitness gym programs available to them.

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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I strongly agree with you.  Wellness coaches are a waste of time.  I am a Parkinson's patient who relied on the Silver Sneakers classes to help with balance and strength issues.  There are 1+million Parkinson's patients that could benefit from Silver Sneakers.  A regular gym membership does nothing for me but increase the chance that I could become injured if I don't use the equiptment correctly. Unfortunately, there is no instruction at the gyms on how to use the equiptment without hurting yourself.  In addition AARP's recommendation of the YMCA is a complete joke since non exist where I live.  The gym I was using for Silver Sneakers is only a mile from my home.  So my premiums have increased and my benefits have decreased.  I think next year when my AARP membership comes due for my husband and  myself I will probably not renew.  I don't see any real benefits to membership. 

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@ShelleyG149812 wrote:

I strongly agree with you.  Wellness coaches are a waste of time.  I am a Parkinson's patient who relied on the Silver Sneakers classes to help with balance and strength issues.  There are 1+million Parkinson's patients that could benefit from Silver Sneakers.  A regular gym membership does nothing for me but increase the chance that I could become injured if I don't use the equiptment correctly. Unfortunately, there is no instruction at the gyms on how to use the equiptment without hurting yourself.  In addition AARP's recommendation of the YMCA is a complete joke since non exist where I live.  The gym I was using for Silver Sneakers is only a mile from my home.  So my premiums have increased and my benefits have decreased.  I think next year when my AARP membership comes due for my husband and  myself I will probably not renew.  I don't see any real benefits to membership. 


Sorry to here about the parkinsons.  I know that must be rough.

 

I believe our insurance with UHC is contingent on our membership in AARP.  A group plan?? 

 

So I think you need to verify this and find out what it means if you cancel outside the open enrollment.  Could UHC cancel you at the expiration of your AARP membership?  Would you be without insurance until the next open enrolment?   Or does this circumstance allow you to enroll when you drop AARP.  Etc. etc. etc..

 

I think you can cancel your membership and get back the remainder of your dues, which would let you change now, which is what I might do even if I loose the dues.

 

Ron

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Look into Rock Steady Boxing. It is a program created for Parkinson's patients, I have used it and it really works, they have affiliates all over the country.

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