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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

Sadly, not completely accurate.   There is NO Fitness option in my County in 2020.  (It has been explained to me by an insurance broker friend that it is not profitable here.)

 

I have changed my insurer as a result.  Naturally, I feel very let down by the AARP/UHC coalition.  I won't die from it and .....now I know.....

 

Good luck everybody.

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Regular Contributor

I'm happy that UHC/AARP heard our voices and decided to add the free gym benefit similar to Silver Sneakers.  The big difference I see is that we only get ONE free gym membership whereas with Silver Sneakers, we could join multiple gyms (as long as they accept SS). This was handy for those snow birds who have a gym in say Florida and one at home in New York.  That did not affect me so I'm OK with just having my one gym membership here locally.

 

Just remember that there is no requirement to provide us with free gym membership and any insurance company can drop that benefit at any time.  So all of you who fled UHC/AARP to Blue Cross or others still run the risk of losing that benefit in the future, just like those of us who stayed  with UHC run the same risk.  At least alot of you got a cheaper premium when you moved-bonus!

 

Go forth and workout at your gym!!  🙂 

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Periodic Contributor

The Renew Active site addresses this in their FAQs - you can indeed have more than one gym membership.
I kept my main membership at LA Fitness, which offers Silver Sneakers classes 3x a week free, and most all other group fitness classes are included as well; I go to yoga on the weekend. The front desk says I can visit any other LA Fitness without re-registering as well

This however, is not what I mean when I say 'more than one gym'.
A few weeks ago, I used the same RenewActive confirmation code to join a local Park District program for free as well. I joined that program because they have an indoor walking/running track, which I can access for free. They also have a schedule of group fitness classe (including Silver Sneakers) that I can attend anytime for free.

I'm currently eyeing a third fitness center from a neighboring town because they offer Tai Chi

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Honored Social Butterfly

Silver Sneakers being droped by AARP recommended insurer

=====================================================================

This thread started on 10/16/2017. People had time to find another insurance company.

So why do we have people still crying about it?
Contributor

I did not know till this morning that AARP dropped Silver Sneakers. We should be informed by mail before this happened. I go to 2 gyms and so far nobody has told me about this . Just waiting to see what happens but if I lose my memberships I will be very disappointed because as we get older we need the gyms,I can't afford to go if I lose thid

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Periodic Contributor

Yes.  I did that last year.  AAA beat the home and auto insurance.  I also saved $25 a month by going with Humana who DOES have Silver Sneakers.  Dropped AARP membership too.

Periodic Contributor

I have been with the AARP/UHC plan for two years.  I talked to a UHC sales person today.  According to him, Renew Active is replacing Silver Sneakers.  That does not matter for my area though because AARP/UHC is not offering a "fitness" rider in my area anymore (Nor. California).   He could not give me a reason why...it just is. 

 

Needless to say, I am disappointed since I am in the gym 5 days plus a week keeping healthy so I do not have health problems.  You would think that would be a good goal.

 

Anyway, we had planned for my fiance to leave her current insurer and also get her moved from Kaisar to this plan......the loss of the fitness piece is a no go for us though.  She will stay where she is and I will drop this and go there since AARP/UHC is unable/unwilling to meet the needs of its customers. 

 

Bye...

Periodic Contributor

We have mixed messages here now.   I called and asked about the new 2020 exercise program and asked about being able to go to various places in the same week.  I am Medicare gap and not an advantage program (I no longer want to be within a in-network insurance policy; I want to have a choice of doctors, specialists, and hospitals across the U.S. therefore I go with a gap policy instead.)

I think we need folks on the gap insurance program to call phone number 1-888-887-5963 and enquire if we can use multiple facilities every day or every week under the new 2020 program at no charge.  

Regular Contributor

after years of Silver Sneakers being discussed. I see locally even if you had it, the local YMCA will not accept it any more. I am not sure if this goes across the whole US or not but it may be to your neighborhood coming soon. so even a change in insurer will not get you into your gym.

food for thought.....

Periodic Contributor

It would be good news if UHC saw the light and again provides the gym membership benefits they promoted to get customers to choose their plan, just before dropping the benefits.  That said, after checking the Renew Active gym participants list, the nearest one to us is over 40 miles away now.  When we chose the plan, our local fitness center had just completed registering with Silver Sneakers.  They indicated that they could not afford to participate with UHC’s changed program, which occurred shortly after, because the contract would be detrimental to their costs.  Hope that all changes for 2020. Still very disappointed in UHC’s deceptive marketing practices.

Newbie

Is there going to be a silver sneakers program, yes or no?

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Periodic Contributor

My understanding is that Silver Sneakers is an independent program now being covered by other Medicare supplemental insurers, but no longer something AARP United Health Care provides its customers.
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Periodic Contributor

My understanding is that Silver Sneakers is an independent program now being covered by other Medicare supplemental insurers, but no longer something AARP United Health Care provides its customers.

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Contributor

none of the insurance plans i have had in the past have had any kind of gym membership benefit.  i didn't even know about silver sneakers until i got a letter from aarp that it was being dropped as of this past january 1, 2019.  so my gym dropped out of the silver sneakers program.  in its place i'm paying 1/2 of the normal gym membership fee which makes me very happy.  also, i thoroughly researched premiums for plan f with many other insurance providers and aarp was the lowest by around $40+/month.  of course each situation is different, but having not had access to any gyms nor any other benefits (free wellness coaching, for instance, offered by united) i am very thankful that these are available to me now

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p.s. i forgot to mention that starting this january 1, 2020, my aarp/united healthcare supplement plan f will pay for all of my gym membership.  so starting then my fitness center will be free!  of course i'm even more grateful to have this improved benefit.  btw, i'm in california

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Newbie

How do you get plan F?

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Contributor

Shame on United Health Care for Dropping Silver Sneakers Without a fair warning I waked into my YMCA only that my membership is not valid How about advanced notice Renew Fitness not valid In South Carolina Thanks 

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Periodic Contributor

Does AARP have any plans to reinstate Silver Snearkers in Illinois?  I found out too late to change this year, but want to know which carrier will do it for 2020.  Thanks

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Periodic Contributor

Silver Sneakers is DEAD as far as AARP is concerned. It looks like the entire SS program is barely hanging on as well. According to a quick check of their website today, it is only available to those enrolled in an Advantage plan, not Medicare Supplemental (Medigap). If you do have an Advantage plan, look at Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Illinois. BCBS received positive review from my doctor's office. I just dropped AARP/UHC and went with BCBS Plan F High Deductible. But each situation is different. Also consider talking to an agent.

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Regular Contributor

I see this topic 'heating up' again and nu8579, your post may only be accurate for you and your state.  Everyone needs to check their state and thier specific plans.

 

I live in California.  I have Original Medicare and I had the UHC Plan F - medicare supplemental plan.  I have not and will never enroll in an "Advantage" plan!. 

 

When UHC dropped Silver Sneakers, I was not happy.  So, I found a great agent and found I had several options.  I think I had 4 companies that had supplemental plans - all of which had Silver Sneakers!  Since I didn't want to wait until my birthday, I went through underwriting and changed to Blue Cross Innovative Plan F effective January 1st.  This is the normal Plan F but with a few added benefits.  And yes, I have Silver Sneakers!  And even better, my premium DROPPED!!

 

I've had a couple of emails frrom my UHC agent claiming - falsely - that changing would cost more.  Obviously AARP and UHC miscalculated on this one.  As I told her, I SAVED money by changing.  Long story short - Everyone needs to check their own situation.  Make sure that you are doing what works for you!

Periodic Contributor

My reply was directed towards a poster who is in Illinois, as am I. That posting chain of connectivity was lost. 

 

You are, of course, correct that every state is different, with their own laws written by their own legislatures. I think many people do not realize that and assume that various postings here and on the internet apply to everyone.

 

I also will never enroll in an "Advantage" plan. Not right for me. I like the docs I have.

 

From what I have been able to discern (yeah, from the internet, and maybe Illinois), it is only Advantage that has the annual enrollment period. After your first enrollment in Supplemental/"Medigap", changing plans requires going through underwriting, regardless of birthday or annual period. Maybe that varies by state or the posting I came across is wrong. The source appeared authoritative. I went through underwriting which took a couple weeks, but passed.

 

My health club of choice is the YMCA. It appears they have dropped Silver Sneakers entirely. At least overall. HOWEVER, I was never able to get a straight answer out of any of those people, local or regional. Wretched communication. SS website only shows one YMCA in the entire Chicago metro area - not the one I use. Why the one? IDNK.

 

From my own ordeal with this and from reading other postings, I am reluctantly convinced that people should at least talk to an agent. This whole thing is confusing and internet postings are not reliable because, again, each state is different. And every situation is different. And too many people don't know what they are talking about.

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As I stated in my previous posts, I switched back to Original Medicare because I found out that Humana Supplemental offered SilverSneakers. I used an agent also. He told me that in my area (Chicago), Humana was the only supplemental plan that offered SS. Yes, Original Medicare has a higher monthly premium, but SS was very important to me.

 

If UHC would have kept SS, I would most likely have stayed with them under a Medicare Advantage plan. My favorite doctor wasn't in any other MA plans' networks. Therefore, I was thrilled to find out that a Humana supplemental plan included SS. Now I can go back to the gym I've been going to for over 20 years that's closest to my home!

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I haven't heard anything to that effect, but time will tell, I guess. I think I've heard of a half dozen people who left AARP/UnitedHealthcare to switch to another insurance company. However, none of my doctors were in any other Medicare Advantage plan in my area, which is why I switched to Original Medicare and to Humana supplemental which carries SilverSneakers.

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Actually, a lot of people switched from United HealthCare.  This is a long thread and you'll find many members who dropped UHC.  Frankly, because AARP sold their name (and soul) to UHC, I've pulled away from AARP as well.  I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.  I'm very pleased with Blue Shielf of California, and I switched to Silver Scripts for my drug plan and am saving a lot of money vs. UHC-Walgreen.   Chances are, I would not have changed either plan had UHC kept Silver Sneakers.

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Regular Contributor

I suggest working with an agent if you are not already. It doesn't cost anything and it is their job to be on top of what the different options are in your area. In our case, we have original medicare and supplemental. I switched to another plan in January (December birthday) but my husband had to wait until his birthday to change. When it was time for his change our agent told us that Blue Shield was aggressively going after business and had opened up the F Extra Plan (which is what I originally wanted but could qualify for) with no underwriting - we both switched to that. I know some Advantage Plans extended their open enrollment period also. It is state-by-state so my experience in California is only anecdotal - but the bottom line is I think an agent can be a great help.

 

Also, I changed agents when I made my initial change because the agent we worked with for several years just didn't understand that Silver Sneakers was important to us. She expressed concern the rate could be higher for us later on by leaving the community-based rate under UHC. Of course that ignores the cost of gym membership if it is important to you. I spent as much time as I could looking at rates for different age groups, etc. and decided I was not likely making a terrible decision. Best I could do without a crystal ball. Hopefully gym membership keeps medical costs down and UHC won't be benefitting from that within their community. I'm still pretty angry with them.

Newbie

Where can I find an agent in the East Bay, California area.    How did you locate someone that you can trust?

 

I could have used Silver Sneakers for the last four years and didn't.    Now I need it and it's gone.   With the price we are paying AARP/UHC I cannot believe that they took that benefit away.

 

Tks for any assistance!

 

H.

 

 

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Periodic Contributor

Maybe a local senior citizen's organization would know how to help finding an agent.
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Regular Contributor

UHC did this in Ohio about a year and a half ago. RetireMED®iQ, an independent health plan advisory service, negotiated with Anthem and was able to offer a cheaper plan with the same coverage, that included Silver Sneakers. UHC wanted it's subscribers to pay for it's "new improved plan" that included a few gyms. (Translation: more profit for them.) There was no improvement for the consumers. I have been VERY happy with Anthem and glad I moved. There were also several other plans that picked up Silver Sneakers. My friend took one of those and is also pleased. If you have an advisory health plan service in your area, they can help you at no charge (at least they do in Ohio). You  might also look thru the archived posts here, as there was a great deal of information provided in the posts back then and some of those posts, I believe, were from California. That was in the Fall of 2017 throughout 2018. You also aren't required to join AARP with these other plans.

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I just received notice from AARP/UHC that coming January 1, 2020 they will be offering, at no cost to us, new health care services including participating gyms and fitness centers. I live in Arizona and have their Medicare supplement plan. You can go to AARP website to check it out.

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Periodic Contributor

I gave up on AARP/UHC months ago and went with a high deductible plan from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The cost of the AARP Plan F was skyrocketing and is projected to do so far into the future. That is because new entrants into Medicare are not allowed to sign up for it so the pool of participants will be just the aging population and not offset by younger, healthier people. The substantial money I save will fund a reserve to cover the deductible if necessary, pay for a membership to a health club close to me and have some left over. I talked with the people who handle insurance at my doctor's office and they said BC/BS is a good insurance company. 

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