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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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Periodic Contributor

OK - so I called back today.  Completely dfifferent message - UHC are no longer going to support Silver Sneakers in California.  I will be switching to Blue Shield.  You have to wonder why the information is so confused...

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Regular Contributor

Be careful. I switched to another plan and was assured Silver Sneakers or equivalent was included but found out after I received all the information by mail, that I had to PAY for membership per month. So ask the question, is it included FREE?  Live and learn.  Unfortunately we have to learn from each other and not depend on uninformed customer service representatives.  

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Periodic Contributor

you can also check the SilverSneaker web site for coverage!

Silversneakers.com

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Periodic Contributor

I just called the UHC rep intending to cancel my plan and get the Blue Shield extended Plan F.  But she assured me that UHC are NOT dropping Silver Sneakers here in California.  But they are in many other States - maybe they got a lot of cancellations?

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Regular Contributor

Don't know but I've discovered their cost for Silver Sneakers is probably included in their premium. I've switched to Aetna Plan G which saves me more than enough to cover the gym costs for my wife and myself so I no longer have to worry if my health insurance plan will continue with Silver Sneakers. I also changed our Part D that saves me more than $1,200 a year so I have to thank UHC for waking me up. They have lost some of my business but that's life.

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Periodic Contributor

Have found this in our office thousands of times by being independent and writing the best Medicare Supplement for the client, without seeking bells and whistles with a higher, accompanying monthly premium for the actual insurance.

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Periodic Contributor

Here is what they sent to CA plan folks. You be the judge.
http://image.uhc-info.com/lib/fe9313707560027f7c/m/2/SS+All+but+OH.PDF

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Periodic Contributor

Thanks for all the replies and comments about UHC by AARP, I just got off the phone from changing my supplement provider.  I now have a plan that's $175 cheaper for the same coverage and it includes Silver Sneakers.

I live in Ohio and ended up going with Medical Mutual of Ohio which for right now looks like the plan for me, good luck to you all in finding the plan for you!

Just one more thing, I also had to find out from my gym that UHC was dropping the Silver Sneaker program, you'd think that our supplement provider would be the one to tell us!

 Thanks UHC for waking me up and saving me money in switching!

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Regular Contributor

I also switched to Medical Mutual in Ohio at a lower rate and very little underwriting. Don't let the thought of underwriting disuade you from applying. Unless it's a  major health issue you will more than likely be accepted in Ohio and it includes Silver Sneakers. Glad I made the change. I guess we were duped into thinking that by AARP endorsing a product that it would be the right choice for us.....Wrong!

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Periodic Contributor

Yes, inrollment was easy and I found out something today that I didn't know, This may only be in Ohio but you can switch your supplemental insurance at any time not just during open enrollment period.  

Now I have a 3 year membership to AARP but i guess it's not there fault that UHC made changes, I would have thought they'd have some influence though!

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Contributor

Agree.

I called AARP and all they said was call UHC. You would think AARP would be looking out for the senior membership.

I will be considering dropping AARP at next renewal.

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Regular Contributor

1. Everyone needs to understand that AARP is making a commision or a fee - whatever you want to call it - for every policy or item that is "sold" with tjhe AARP "brand."  

2. If you have a Supplememental Medicare plan - called a Medigap plan - NOT an Advantage Plan - you can change your plan at ANY time.  The "open enrollment" applies to people who are in a Medicare Advantage plan.  The ONLY possible issue is that underwriting may review your medical history.  

3. California has a rule that you can change plans in the 30 day period after your birthday without having underwriting review your medical history.  The rule is called the Guaranteed Issue.  I posted the actual legal citiation on this a couple of weeks ago.

4. Do NOT believe that anything is "a bargain" just because it is "branded" AARP.  I dropped my Hartford Homeowners policy this year because they wanted to raise the premium about $200!!!  I was able to save a lot by changing to Farmers'.

5. On United Healthcare, every plan F is the same!  The premium does vary.  Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield and I think Healthnet offer Plan F but they have also come out with a new plan - Innovative F.  It's idential to the Regular Plan F but offers vision and hearing benefits at no extra cost.  I'm looking at Anthem Blue Cross and the premium for the regular Plan F and for the Innovative F are BOTH less expensive than United Healthcare and I will have Silver Sneakers!!!

 

In other words - find an agent and check this stuff out!!!!!  Good luck! 

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Regular Contributor

Same letter we got in Wisconsin.  I switched to Cigna with Silver Fit which is accepted by our local Rec Center and I can participate in all Silver Sneaker classes for free and gym membership is included.  Same price as UHC and no underwriting. My husband slso switched his plan with savings of $600 per year. We switched prescription plans with savings of $148 each per year. If UHC hadn’t dropped Silver Sneakers, we would not have checked into any other options. So guess we owe them a thank you. We also learned that it may be worth the time to check into plan options each year. 

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Regular Contributor

That's really interesting. I'm in California and did not receive any notification the AARP/UHC was canceling Silver Sneakers. I found out about it when I went to my local health club and there was a notice at the sign in desk: "Effective January 1st, AARP is canceling support for the Silver Sneakers program". In my case, Silver Sneakers saved us over $600/yr in dues. To newer members of the health club, the savings could easily be double that. Bottom Line: it was the health club that informed us, not AARP/UHC. All we received was a notification of increased rates in 2019. On top of that, we also received a letter from our local pharmacy that, effective January 1, they could no longer honor "AARP's Prescription Drug Plan". That's the tripple whammy. We signed up for Blue Shield Plan F Extra, which offers Silver Sneakers and several other services not offered by AARP/UHC...and for less money than we'd be paying to continue with AARP/UHC. We also signed us for Silver Scripts Rx plan.
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Periodic Contributor

Really disappointed to find this out, just got on Medicare 3 months ago and went with UHC by AARP but now that they are dropping silver sneakers I’ll be looking for another provider next year.  Would have been nice to know this in advance.  One other thing that rubs me raw, after signing up and before my coverage even began I got a notice that rates are also going up next year.  

A member for less than three months and very disappointed!

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Regular Contributor

You need to look at exactly WHEN you can change.  I'm in California and since I had a "Medicare Supplement Plan", my 'open enrollment' is the month of my birthday.  Check this out carefully for your situation.

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Regular Contributor

In California, you can change your Supplement (Medigap) Plan during the National Open Enrollment period, which we are in right now AND during the 30 days following your Birthday.  The difference is: during the National Open Enrollment period you are subject to medical underwriting by most plans if you want to change, but during your "Birthday month" you can change to another plan of equal or lesser benefits with no medical underwriting.  So if you have any pre-existing conditions, and want to change to a different plan or company, your "Birthday month" is likely the best time to switch plans as you will not be penalized by medical underwriting.

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Regular Contributor

California's "Birthday Rule" means you can change to a plan with equal or less coverage within a 30 day window of Before and After your birthday, with no underwriting.
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Regular Contributor

I want to clarify the California law for those people who have the AAPR-United Heath Care Medicare Supplemental plan.  In California, I found out it's really called the Guaranteed Issue Period.  We don't have an official "Open Enrollment" like the Medicare Advantage Plans.  In theory, I could change plans at any point during the year.  BUT if I do that the insurance company may or may not choose to give me a policy and it may be suject to "underwriting" where they look at my health, claims, etc.  The Guranteed Issue Period is found in the Califonia Insurance Code - Section 10192.11 (h)(1).  And I've pasted it below.  The bottom line is that within the 30 day period AFTER your birthday each year, you CAN change to a Medicare supplement polcy of the same or lesser benefit and the insurance company cannot deny coverage!

That being said, I intend to "shop" my coverage and will likely drop United Heath Care duing my 30 day period!  Good Luck Everyone!

 

(h) (1) An individual shall be entitled to an annual open enrollment period lasting 30 days or more, commencing with the individual’s birthday, during which time that person may purchase any Medicare supplement policy that offers benefits equal to or lesser than those provided by the previous coverage. During this open enrollment period, no issuer that falls under this provision shall deny or condition the issuance or effectiveness of Medicare supplement coverage, nor discriminate in the pricing of coverage, because of health status, claims experience, receipt of health care, or medical condition of the individual if, at the time of the open enrollment period, the individual is covered under another Medicare supplement policy or contract. An issuer shall notify a policyholder of his or her rights under this subdivision at least 30 and no more than 60 days before the beginning of the open enrollment period.

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Community Manager
Community Manager

Please be sure to check out the Medicare.gov page for pulling up medigap policies in your area as a great way to get information:

https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/medigap-home.aspx

AARPTeri
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Through a local Ohio senior benefits company, I was able to switch to a similar medigap policy through Medical Mutual Insurance Company, which has and continues to offer Silver Sneakers.  But not only that, but for this enrollment period only, Medical Mutual does not ask any medical questions whatsoever, accepting anyone who currently is enrolled in AARP/United Healthcare, no questions asked and therefore no rerating based on medical history.  Additionally, my monthly premium for Plan F for my 70 year old self is actually $181.41/month versus AARP/UHC's monthly premium of $ 204.12, a monthly savings of $22.71. 

 

However, I did not go with Medical Mutual's Plan F, choosing rather to go to Plan G.  Plan G's coverage is identical to Plan F, except I'm responsible for paying the Medicare Part B deductible, which for 2019, is $185.  But, the Plan G monthly premium is just $134.58, a monthly savings of $46.83 over Med Mutual's Plan F.  If you do the math, the annual premium savings is $561.96, so if I agree to pay the $185 part B deductible myself through Plan G, I realize a net annual savings of $376.96.  This is the option I chose. 

 

This means that I can bid AARP/UHC a not-so-fond farewell at the end of the year and go with a provider that actually seems to care about it's policy holders.

 

Good riddance, AARP.

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Periodic Contributor

this was so helpful to me, thank you.     what scares me is making a change.     had a hip replacement this past year (my first and only operation!) and was very happy with the coverage.     so i thought having a 'history' would be a good thing.   but now, it seems things are changing.     don't really trust aarp anymore, or feel the same about united.    never did receive the 'early' notice of the silver sneakers deal, and it's a real conundrum to know what the best thing is to do for the long run.    

valerieb
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Don’t be afraid to look into alternatives.  All supplements cover the same as mandated by Medicare.

 

Customer service does differ.  I switched from United Healthcare to Cigna and was very pleased with the customer service person I spoke to at Cigna shortly after signing up.  She said that she has spoken to many customers who switched from UHC to Cigna due to UHC dropping Silver Sneakers.  Cigna has Silver &Fit which is accepted at our local gym and I have access to all the Silver Sneaker classes.  

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Periodic Contributor

I am extremely disappointed with AARP UHC dropping Silversneakers.  I am changing my Medicare Medgap to Humana which will continue to have Silversneakers in 2019.  Additionally their rates, for both plan G and F, are slightly cheaper. If AARP is truely concerned about the health of its membership, I would strongly encourage AARP to end it's relationship with UHC. 

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Newbie

I am very disappointed by the relationship between AARP and United Health. I have done my research and after two years with these two organizations, I am joining Humana because they are committed to silver sneakers program.  Everyone needs to know that the United program is not silver sneakers . I spoke to my brother in law who was in the same situation last year as I am now.  He was informed of the aarp united drop weeks after open enrollment and was forced to use optum advantage program owned by united.  He has been unhappy all year and now will be joining Humana like me.  I have done further research and have uncovered the fact that AARP and United have a financial relationship. They don't care about their members.   HUMANA and silver sneakers do!!  I am telling all my friends what everyone should know.   Financial greed is not in the best of interest of seniors

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Periodic Contributor

it's disgusting.      i talked with someone from united and she knew nothing either.    she even said "they're working on it"   i laughed.    my issue is that i've been happy with united's plan F coverage -- maybe i'll check humana or other plan F's and compare?       the person at united  i talked with did say we are 'grandfathered' in since they are not continuing plan F, but we all know they'll raise premiums to the point we'll have to change plans.....

valerieb
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Regular Contributor

You are absolutely correct. Medicare should investigate corruption, greed, and misrepresentations within the insurance companies as well as AARP.  

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Regular Contributor

This isn't about "corruption", per se.  AARP made the decision to license the rights to its name to the highest bidder.  It turned out to be UnitedHealth Care.  The irony is that while AARP does not have any involvement in UnitedHealthCare's decision to drop the Silver Sneakers program, many health clubs are telling their members that "AARP is dropping Silver Sneakers".  That's the problem with licensing your name.  Also keep in mind that Silver Sneakers is not a benefit mandated by Medicare. It is an incentive to get people to sign up with, in this instance, UnitedHealthCare.  Because this incentive is not a mandated Medicare benefit, any company offering it as part of a Medi-Gap or Supplemental Insurance Plan can elect to remove it.  Many other insurerers continue to offer Silver Sneakers as a 100% paid benefit.  I'm dropping my AARP/UHC supplemental insurance plan in favor of one from Blue Shield.  They offer Silver Sneakers and their rates for me are less than AARP/UHC. This is a classic example of what happens when you give YOUR customer a reason to shop at one of your competitors.  Not only do you lose the Customer, it will cost you dearly to get them back.  As long as Blue Shield delivers the services I want, for a price I can afford, they will have my business. This has not only driven me away from UHC, it has also undermined my faith in AARP.

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Periodic Contributor

Sorry but you seem to misunderstand what AARP is.  AARP is an insurance sales company no different from your local agent but set up as a non-profit to avoid taxes.  It does not represent AARP members, it represents the interests of the insurance companies and the wealthy people they appoint as directors.  You are not a member of an organization - you are a customer.  You get no say in the BOD selection - have you ever received a notice to vote on the BOD?  No you haven't and never will, and you get zero input to policies and procedures.  The otherwise profits that would be taxed are paid to the owners - the insurance mogels and the BOD who are paid multi-million salaries to own the company.  AARP has always been a scam, the scam has had some benefits for their customers, but really you can buy insurance without them, and then you don't have to get all their marketing nonsense.

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I currently have UHC Medicare Complete in Missouri.  I contacted UHC after receiving my new membership card last week but never getting any information on changes to my plan.  I specifically asked the representative if Silver Sneakers was being dropped from my plan.  She said she had no knowledge of any changes to the program in my plan.  Obviously she lied to me or is totally clueless because when I kept hearing rumors of UHC dropping Silver Sneakers I contacted UHC again and did an online chat session.  The rep informed me that yes, Silver Sneakers was being dropped from my plan.

If UHC lied about this, what else have they lied about or will lie about?  I'll be switching to Essence Health Care and hope that they have better morals. 

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