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Regular Contributor

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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Regular Contributor

In 2017 I had Original Medicare, plus Mutual of Omaha supplemental. I asked MO of they offered SilverSneakers and they said no. So for 2018, I switched from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage and signed up with UHC for the SilverSneakers free healthclub membership because the health club that I've been going to for years that is 5 minutes away from my ouse was participating in SS. Then this year UHC dropped SilverSneakers and my club won't participate in RenewActive. I was told this was due to a "conflict of interest." Then why does LA Fitness (20 minutes away for me) participate in both programs? So this past January, I tried going on medicare.gov in search for other MA plans to switch to (because we have until March 31st to switch) that would have SS and unfortunately, my doctors aren't in their network or my drugs aren't in their formulary. Does Original Medicare now offer SS? Also, I was told by LA Fitness that now you only get 50% off with SS, whereas previously the membership was free!

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Contributor

Okay, this is all very wierd. I belong to LA Ftiness in Chicago, and there were signs saying that SS was being cancelled, due to change with UHC/AARP. I watched a line of people being told this. An email to AARP brought forth a response: cannnot answere with the information you provided. Then a search on the AARP website said somthing about Fit50? Anyone had the chance to check this out as an option?

 

Some tooling about on the net brought this: https://tools.silversneakers.com/Eligibility/HealthPlans?state=IL

 

This NPR article seems to give the most information: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/12/04/673249571/unitedhealthcare-customers-are-unhapp...

 

Hope this helps!

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Periodic Contributor

Fit50 is a ripoff it costs 39 bucks monthly. Just another way to squeeze more money out of you while providing less service. I will be switching health plans next year

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Regular Contributor

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you have until March 31st to switch.

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Periodic Contributor

Fit50 is a ripoff it costs 39 bucks monthly. Just another way to squeeze more money out of you while providing less service. I will be switching health plans next year

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Periodic Contributor

1. Never heard of this "Fit50". The letter I received from AARP/UHC calls their New and Improved plan "HealthYourWay.com" It offers 50% off membership at "participating" health clubs including YMCA's. However, there are apparently NO global agreements with club networks. AARP wants US to go out and sell their program to individual clubs. My local Y never heard of it and said, effectively, pay uo or you are out.

2. I had checked the Silver Sneakers link of eligible health plans and - there is a HUGE catch (Surprise!). For Blue Cross, only their Advantage plans are eligible. NOT the Medigap plans. The eligible Medigap plans of other insurers were WAY more expensive than even AARP/UHC.

3. YMCA appears to be dropping Silver Sneakers entirely. I suspect it was AARP/UHC that was the major supporter of it, and financial backer.

4. It has been nearly impossible to get reliable, accurate information about what is going on anywhere, from anyone. People either don't know what they are talking about or are being devious.

5. Situations in your particular geographic area may be different. Medicare supplemental plans are all different, depending on the state. Health clubs may be the same way. YMCA's are organized into regions which appear to be autonomous is setting policy. Those in my metro region do not appear to have any senior discounts. You will need to research your own situation. And do NOT rely on what just one person tells you. Multiple sources and get it in clear writing.

 

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Regular Contributor

Medicare plans change by state.

Silver Sneakers has a icon for Health Plan Partners and Ohio has 16 partners.

Anthem medigap/supplement is cheaper than AARP.  Alot depends on which Medigap Plan.  F is becoming much more expensive because it is being discontinued for new seniors. AARP is usually more expensive because UHC pays AARP 5% commission.

Some YMCA's do not accept Silver Sneakers or have weird policies for their 'home' YMCA.

In Ohio wife and I saved about $8 to $12 per month each going from AARP to another company that has silver sneakers.

Again.  All medigap/supplement plans are secondary to medicare primary and just pay the percentage that medicare does not.  So 1 company is not really any better than another.  Premier health network in ohio for a period did Not accept UHC or AARP UHC advantage plan.  Since medicare was primary for the AARP supplement plan, it was accepted.

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Regular Contributor

Read some of the back posts for lots of information. Many of the Medigap policies provide SS and with those policies you can see any doc that accepts medicare. In my opinion, if you can afford them, they are much easier to use and there are no surprises about what you'll be paying/ or denials if you need medical care.

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Periodic Contributor

To date I have refused to stop my original Medicare plan with a gap policy and move to a Medicare Advantage plan.  I want to be able to use any physician or health professional system anywhere in the USA.  I had a medical condition that needed surgery and was so rare that I could only go to another state and pay out of pocket. But after 10 years of suffering, a local surgeon took cutting-edge-training and I was able to get that needed surgery. It took only 20 minutes and normal healing time...I now live a normal pain free life.  So in answer to your situation, I do feel sorry that you have lost your wide access to your physicians of choice now and in future unless you move back to the original Medicare insurance.  It is a shame that Silver Sneakers is being cut out of insurance policies.  My experience with Silver Sneakers is that the fitness and health company is excellent in reputation, services, website, newsletter, videos, and has wide varity of health information for seniors.  

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Contributor

No more Silver Sneakers.

 

This is a joke. I used four different fitness cemters depending upon work, home, etc. One of the main reasons I chose UNITED HEATH CARE was for the Silver Sneakers program. If I had to belong to four gyms, even at half price, it would be cost prohibitive for me.

 

Unbelievable. I guess that is what our world has evolved to.........all about maximizing the wealth of the shareholders.

 

Really ugly AARP. 

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Periodic Contributor

If you have a Supplement Plan, and you live in a state where some of the other supplement plans offer silver sneakers you can change now. I switched to Humana supplement F plan (in Arizona). It is $20 cheaper a month and it includes silver sneakers. It is the exact same F Supplement coverage Plus silver sneakers.

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Contributor

You have made a serious and probably financially disastrous mistake and I shall surely change my AARP United Health Care Medicare Complete Health Insurance Plan as soon as I am legally able to do so.  You say that WELLNESS is your goal yet do not provide this absolutely wonderful way for us to stay fit.  Lots of other insurances do and believe me, thousands of your subscribers will switch because of this stupid decision.  I am appalled and tremendously disappointed.  Dr. Rosalie G. Riegle

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Discontinuing the Silver Sneakers benefit without prior timely notification may not be illegal but it is certainly unethical. I am surprised that AARP would allow themselves to be a party to this type of crass business practice. I expect the blow back will overwhelm any temporary monetary benefit to United and AARP. It certainly removed any misconception I had that AARP was some kind of altruistic organization that was primarily interested in the well-being of seniors rather than making a buck. I am left wondering when I will ever outgrow my naiviety in believing that such an organization actual exists.

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Contributor

You know AARP I'm really disgusted and angered how dare you take away the silver sneakers benefit. often I look at our government especially the White House and I just see how what a joke we have become and how disgusted I am and how things have turned out and now I'm having the same thoughts about AARP. What say you!!!!

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So I joined AARP because the UHC plan was cheaper for AARP members.   Looks to me like UHC pushed back about the lower rates and between the 2 of them they concocted this deal.  UHC lowers the deal total cost and AARP can still claim they are providing a "deal" to their members, albeit only for Advntage plans.  The cost of the gap policy now includes the health club dues we have to pay.  I would have considered other plans not tethered to AARP but included SS.   The fact that this happened without any warning and after we made our plan selection surely makes this whole thing more fishy.  BIG disappointment.  This is what happens when the financial types control the wheels of power.

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Contributor

I have the Medicare Advantage plan through United/AARP.  While Silver Sneakers is no longer offered as a benefit in 2019, an alternative is: "Renew Active."  It probably saves United Healthcare money, because they appear to own Renew Active; however, my current gym preferences are on the list, so it's not a problem on my particular plan.  

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Newbie

Renew active...what a joke.  Instead of helping pay our exercize expenses, we get another glossy, coffee table magazine with pictures of other people(models) exercizing.

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Regular Contributor

Have any of you who have posted to this thread seen a major increase in "offers" from AARP via e-mail?  I'm getting a lot of e-mail from AARP.  Of course none of the "offers" are of interest to me, but it looks like someone is tracking who is posting and using this info to mount a marketing campaign designed to tell us how wonderful AARP is!

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Periodic Contributor

Not only is there more mail from AARP trying to sell stuff and to “remind” me of all of the benefits of belonging, there is also an email and snail mail deluge from United Healthcare touting their so-called ‘great new Health and Wellness program’  WHAT A CROCK OF ..........

In no way is HealthYourWay an acceptable replacement for Silver Sneakers - my birthday is coming up in July and it will be time to leave both UHC and AARP.

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After much confusion, I discovered that certain states, including some PA plans are still carrying Silver Sneakers.  The real frustration was when I called AARP (# on the back of my card), I was told Silver Sneakers was being dropped.  My rep however told me we still had Silver Sneakers and didn't understand AARP telling me a different story. Everyone was very confused. Turns out I still do have Silver Sneakers.  AARP, please get your act together! Wondering what will happen in 2020. Carol

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Honored Social Butterfly


@CarolB353362 wrote:

After much confusion, I discovered that certain states, including some PA plans are still carrying Silver Sneakers.  The real frustration was when I called AARP (# on the back of my card), I was told Silver Sneakers was being dropped.  My rep however told me we still had Silver Sneakers and didn't understand AARP telling me a different story. Everyone was very confused. Turns out I still do have Silver Sneakers.  AARP, please get your act together! Wondering what will happen in 2020. Carol


Actually, Carol, this move by United Healthcare (AARP branded Medicare plans) has been going on for a couple of years.  They are doing it state by state as they set up their new ReNew Active (formerly Optum Fitness Advantage) for their Medicare Advantage customers in those states and their Health Your Way plans for their Medicare Supplemental plans.

This is from 2017 -

November 06, 2017 - Star Tribune Business Report - UnitedHealth Group enters senior fitness market r...

 

Then in the fall of 2018, more states were added:

December 04, 2018 - NPR - UnitedHealthcare Customers Are Unhappy About Cuts To SilverSneakers Fitnes...

per this link ~

A controversial business decision by UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest health insurance carrier, is causing the disruption. As of Jan. 1, (2019) the company is dropping SilverSneakers — an optional benefit — for 1.2 million customers with Medicare Advantage plans in 11 states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina and Utah) as well as 1.3 million customers with Medicare supplemental (Medigap) insurance in nine states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin).

 

Unless UHC changes their mind - I wouldn't get too comfortable with that PA. AARP/UHC plan with SilverSneakers - especially if it is a Supplemental (Medigap) plan because there should be a disclosure in your policy stating that any "extra" benefits can be changed or dropped at anytime by the insurer. 

 

For a Medicare Advantage plan, it has to be reupped each year so plans can change from year to year.

 

 

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Periodic Contributor

  I just received a response from AARP. 3 weeks ago, I wrote this to AARP in a Facebook message(among other places):   "Your Continued association with United Health Care as they discontinue their involvement with the Silver Sneakers program goes against everything you stand for. You're supposed to stand up for us, not stand idly by while we lose benefits. Your formerly good name is inextricably connected to United Health Care while they act in their own interest instead of ours. Why did you allow this to happen? You had the power to say "NO!", but you remained silent. You could have reminded United Health Care that you can lend your name to whichever company you choose. But you remained silent. You and/or UHC thought you could placate those of us who value Silver Sneakers by offering us other choices, none of which is a reasonable alternative. That action suggests that you think we're not smart enough to see what's happening, which is insulting. Why do you insult your members? Have you been reading your own forums? There's quite a lot of activity there concerning this issue. Most people plan to switch away from UHC as soon as they're able. Not only that, but many people are so disappointed, or angry, with AARP, that they will be canceling their membership in your organization. I can't say that I blame them, as you have failed your fundamental purpose in your complacency on this issue. What do we need AARP for? We can lose benefits on our own without your "help". I suggest that you reconsider your actions, and reassert yourself. Each of your millions of members is an individual to whom you owe your best efforts. On this health care issue, you've let every one of your members down." 

  Today I got this response:  "Thank your for your feedback . We have indeed received quite a bit related to Silver Sneakers, and we are making sure it gets to folks who work with our partners."  Not exactly an encouraging response, but it was good to confirm they've heard from more than just a few people. 

   I responded to this message with this: "Thank you for your response. Frankly, it was unexpected. Remind the "folks" to whom you refer to look at how many people in California are using Silver Sneakers, not just people who have a plan with United Health Care, but also people with a Medicare plan at other companies. That's a much bigger number than your folks may have looked at. Do your folks realize not one of those seniors is going to consider UHC without Silver Sneakers? It makes sense for any company to consider how a decision they make will affect their potential market, but I don't believe your folks looked at the potential market. After all, they are the same people who thought it would be okay to end Silver Sneakers late in the year and not give people adequate notice before the Medicare enrollment period."

  Maybe, in another few weeks, AARP will have more to say in another message. I'll keep you posted.

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Newbie

I wholeheartedly support what this review reflects.

Dropping the Silver Sneakers(NOT informed until after open enrollment closed) is a major blunder.

I guess the CEO of UNITED HEALTH CARE needed a pay raise!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AARP I almost took the Dental plan but then saw how many NEGATIVE comments you had for that plan.

 

Similar comments now on the United/Silver Sneakers plan. AARP what ARE you doing for the retired? NOT MUCH so far as I can tell. I will not be renewing my AARP, it just isnt worth it.

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Periodic Contributor

Just found out from our fitness center that my Silver Sneakers benefit was no longer active.  I am disappointed in AARP and United Healthcare for promoting this benefit during my fall sign up for first time Medicare supplement plan and then discontinuing it without notifying me.  Seems like a bait and switch tactic.  I so sorry I was promoting this insurance to my same age friends. guess I can switch companies for a few months yet since It is my initial sign up and will check into this.   I agree with others that many health conscious individuals will likely be seeking other insurance companies so not good for the insurance pool and cost containment in the long run.  The integrity of AARP and United Healthcare is very much in question for me.  Have been a long time member of AARP.  Very disappointing.  I hope they reconsider this soon and that AARP steps up as the advocate for senior health that they promote themselves to be.

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Periodic Contributor

I received a solicitation for a donation in the mail from the AARP Foundation.  I will be returning the request to them with a letter stating that I cannot support them in light of the action of AARP/United HealthCare eliminating the Silver Sneakers Fitness Program.  Hopefully, it will garner some attention.  I cannot support a program that will not support my interests as a member.  Please do likewise. Thank you.

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Contributor

AARP is essentailly an insurance company.   May be licensed under United Healthcare AARP but they are an insurance company!   Send a letter to you respective Senators!

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This is my fourth posting on our experience with issue of Silver Sneakersprogram being dropped by the AARP endorsed United Healthcare.  I received a telephone call today from an AARP/UHC representative regarding the issues in my previous post in our attempts to sign up for the "new" benefit with our gym, LA Fitness.  As all have read, the "new" fitness program for us in CA is a 50% reduction in the monthly dues and $0 initiation fee, with the sign-up required to be on the HealthYourWay.com website which directs the user to a "special" LA Fitness enrollment page.  The monthly fee on the enrollment page is $22 and the initiation fee is waived.  If one researches the monthly dues at LA Fitness, they will find either $29.99 or $24.99 per month dues depending upon the level of membership desired.  The enrollment/initiation fee is a negoitablefee from our experience.  LA Fitness has told AARP/UHC that their "signature" membership ( I assume that it is an "all club" membership.  There was no descriptor listed on the webpage.) retails at $44.00 and the deal for the AARP/UHC subscribers is thus $22.00.  There is NO negoition of this fee, even though the information above was described.  The representative also informed me that their "new" program will reach out and involve a greater number of the AARP/UHC subscribers and thus promote  fitness to a greater number of seniors.  My remark in turn was that no senior who is getting their fitness benefit from the use of a gym membership will quit that and start exercising in front of a computer screen.  The mission to improve the health of seniors by promoting regular exercise as the Silver Sneakers Program does, is being ignored and contrary to AARP looking out for the seniors (its members).  I did ask the AARP/UHC representative whether she has read the postings.  She admitted to reading some.  I pointed out that there are many other members with the opinion as mine and that there have been over 13,000 veiwings. There are few, if any, topics that have garnered this much interest.  However, she made no indication that the issue will be re-visited. The policy of the gym membership benefit is as they have dictated. Unfortunately for the AARP members, there has not been any posting indicating support from the AARP governing positions or directors.  Until the Board supports the effort, not much can be done short of changing Medicare Supplement Plans, not contributing to AARP functions and Political Action Committee (PAC) effort requests, and cancelling the AARP memberships.

 

 

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I truly feel betrayed by AARP.  Never received a letter.  Otherwise I would have shopped for another HC provider.  Timing is suspect.  No answers and no one seems to care.

 

It will cost me $330 annually to keep my YMCA member that I use almost daily.  I will not renew with either United Health Care or AARP.

 

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Thank you for posting. I contacted AARP and was offered no help.
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Honored Social Butterfly

Perhaps this AARP subsidiary, the one that actually sells the branding,  would be the one to listen to your views and concerns.

 

AARP Services, Inc.

 

OUR MISSION To inspire new and innovative business practices, guide consumers to make informed choices, and deliver products and services that better ful ll life-stage needs.

 

WHO WE ARE AARP Services is a unique advocate for consumers in the marketplace. We strive to make businesses more responsive and attentive to the dynamic 50-plus population. AARP Services, founded in 1999, is a wholly-owned taxable subsidiary of AARP

 

The PURPOSE

The primary role of AARP Services is to provide quality control, on AARP’s behalf, for the products and services made available to AARP members by leading businesses.

 

The AARP Services staff: >

  • Researches what people 50-plus want and need; >
  • Negotiates special features uniquely suited for consumers 50-plus, as well as differentiated value; >
  • Monitors providers of commercial offers to AARP members to improve customers’ experiences, particularly their overall satisfaction, ease of doing business, and the timeliness and accuracy of offers; and >
  • Provides consulting services to outside companies.

SOCIAL IMPACT AARP’s extensive social-change efforts are primarily supported by the royalty income that AARP receives from licensing its brand to third-party service providers.

 

MARKET INFLUENCE Just as AARP’s founder shook up the marketplace in the 1950s with pioneering group health insurance and a mail-order pharmacy, AARP Services is leveraging market forces to help people live healthier, more secure and happier lives.

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