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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

They already have a free heath care service offering gym memberships. It's called Renew and it replaces Silver Sneakers. The problem is that this program doesn't include as many health clubs as the Silver Sneakers program they had before. I signed up with a health club that participates in Renew, but it was much further away from my home. Also, I heard that at some club the Renew program only discounted your membership, rather than being free. So I'll be curious what they will be offering come January 2020. 

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Regular Contributor

I don't know where you live, but the "Renew" program is not free for most of us.  It is "discounted" in most areas but perhaps some gyms go ahead and offer it for free?

Anyway, the new thing is still the "Renew" but they are calling all the "new" features "At Your Best".  I'm sure, in response to the outcry of UHC dropping Silver Sneakers, they said OK, we'll give you gym membership for fee.  The question is, what gyms and how long will this last?  We all have to remember, even if you went to Blue Cross other other insurance companies, there is NO REQUIREMENT that they keep offering free gym membership.  It is strictly their choice.  So if an insurance company wants to drop it, they can at any time.

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Regular Contributor

Yes, you are correct. I live in Chicago and when I still had UHC, only one club in my neighborhood participated in Renew and offered free membership. Another club told me I'd get a discount, not free. I took a pass. As I said in one of my earlier posts, I was able to switch plans so I dropped UHC, changed to Original Medicare and my supplemental (Humana) has SilverSneakers. It's so important to stay physically active as we age. 

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Periodic Contributor

The letter I received back in February called their program "HealthYourWay.com" This is the trickery these places employ, keep changing names so consumers don't know what they are getting. Or not getting.

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Regular Contributor

I received the same notice and called the # to see what gyms will be included in my area.  After waiting on hold for 30 minutes I gave up.  I'll find out later.

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Periodic Contributor

I'm in the Chicago area. Unlike last year, when members not yet part of Healthyourway (Optum) couldn't see the list of participating gyms (I did call last fall, got an agent at UHC, and she admitted they were still signing up centers to participate) , the new upcoming gym program (Renew Active, part of At Your Best) lets you do a lookup without having a logon (like the Silver Sneakers website). If you go to www.myrenewactive.com  and click on "Find a Fitness Location" you can look for gyms near you.I'm in the Northern suburbs and got 26 centers within 10 miles of me. The majority were chains like LA Fitness, Planet Fitness, Anytime, some smaller gyms a number of park districts. 

The best thing about Silver Sneakers was that you could join multiple gyms, and though I wasn't thrilled about paying a monthly fee this year for my gym (which I picked because it does have Silver Sneakers classes), I was angy that I could only pick one gym membership where I could pay the 'discounted' price (they jacked up the regular price, offered multiple locations in the chain and then charged half of a deluxe membership). I lost access to an indoor walking track around the same time, so the most heartening thing was in the FAQs, where it looks like UHC will return to allowing participation at multiple locations  - 

Can I use multiple participating fitness locations? 

Yes, you can visit multiple participating fitness locations within our network. Simply present your confirmation code at each participating fitness location you want to use. They can then enroll you in the Renew Active program and provide you with access.

 

The FAQs also say that 'standard access' will once again be free - 

What does Renew Active offer? 

Members can visit a participating fitness location to receive standard access at no additional cost. This includes access to a variety of exercise equipment, classes and group activities. You choose the programs and location that are right for you. Amenities may vary by location. You also receive access to BrainHQ, which features fun, online brain exercises and activities designed to keep your mind active. You will be able to access Renew Active beginning on the effective date of your eligible Medicare Advantage health plan.

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Regular Contributor

The key take away from your post is that it only pertains to those with the Medicare ADVANTAGE plan.  Those of us who have Medicare Supplemental are now receiving notices that as of 1/1/20, we will have free access to some gyms.  Two different programs.  I did try to get information on what gyms in my area will be participating in the FREE program and that information was not available yet.

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Periodic Contributor

No, you did not understand my post. I am not in Medicare Advantage, I am in AARP Medicare Supplement.
Last year our plans in Illinois were pulled out of Silver Sneakers and offered gym memberships in one gym for 50% off (LA Fitness membership was the deluxe multistate access to all LAF locations). Today I received a notice from AARP Medicare Supplement saying that they will start a new program called At Your Best by UHC. It includes "Renew Active" access with standard access to a network of gyms and fitness locations for free. Like Silver Sneakers, they will again let members sign up for access at multiple locationgyms. 

As I said, last year they were not letting members access the list of participating locations in Optum Fitness until January 1st, meaning we were renewing our insurance without knowing how far the closest gym was. But there is a Renew Active website that can be accessed now and lets you search by distance from your zipcode. The website is -

www.myrenewactive.com

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Regular Contributor

Well, the link you provided is all about Medicare Advantage plans.  I tried to use it but it does not work for Supplemental plans.

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Regular Contributor

I have a supplement policy with Anthem in Ohio. My independent health plan advisory service arranged for it's members to switch to 3 different plans with a guaranteed certificate of insurability if we were interested for those of us who were enrolled with UHC. Normally we couldn't switch either but UHC's actions were so disingenuous that our advisory service took exception to their actions and worked hard to get it's members a better deal. Anthem also charged less per month besides including a SS membership. The key is using a health plan advisory service. Not only can they tell you what supplement and Part D plan will best suit your needs and why, they will help you if you have a problem with the insurance. They do not charge you for their services. My former employer suggests it's soon to be retirees consider their services and it was one of the best deals I ever accessed! I would suggest you consider locating one in your area for assistance.

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Periodic Contributor

The booklet I recieved from AARP UHC specifically referenced 'At Your Best' and Renew Active, and that the membership would be free. It will go live and accessible to us in January. I had gotten a small postcard from my pension fund on dates for insurance webinars/seminars, but not the enrollment handbook. I looked online and my program's book is live now. It has a summary page up front that lists changes to the various plans for the coming year. This is what it said for our AARP supplemental UHC plan - 
"The AARP Plan F will now include access to the “At Your Best” wellness program which includes a free membership at any gym participating in the network."

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Periodic Contributor

I had concerns over this but found that the facilities I use with Silver Sneakers are all going to be doing the Renew Acitve plan as well.   I really value SS and wanted to get the same benefits. Was relieved that basically, I just got a few additional facility choices if I get dissatisfied with my current fitness centers. 

 

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Contributor

Christine,

 

Have you found any additional info on what type of service the supplemental plan will offer?

 

John

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Periodic Contributor

John, go to www.myrenewactive.com.

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Periodic Contributor

Responder 'marteenuz' must not know the difference between a Advantage Plan and Supplemental Plan (Medigap), as it's right in the MyRenewActive header: "Renew Active™ from UnitedHealthcare, available with select Medicare Advantage plans." 

 

So far I find NO acceptable altertatives for the Silver Sneeker program from UHC in Arizona.  Will be switching to Humana in 2020.  Active™ from UnitedHealthcare, available with select Medicare Advantage plansRRenew Active™ from UnitedHealthcare, available with select Medicare Advantage plansenRenew Active™ from UnitedHealthcare, available with select Medicare Advantage plansew Active™ from UnitedHealthcare, available with select Medicare Advantage plans

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Periodic Contributor

kk9436, the Renew Active will go live for AARP Supplemental in January. They are notifying people now because enrollment periods are about to start. They have also stated that At Your Best is coming for AARP Supplemental  on their Facebook page 

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Periodic Contributor

If Renew Active becomes available for Medigap policies in January it will be a complete surprise.  Both for me and for the UHC service representatives that I have spoken to. Never one to believe in the 'tooth fairy', but I will explore this further before I switch this October. 

 

Unfortunately, 'At Your Best' is not free, very limited and appears to be another sham. See below: 

Program Summary

The At Your Best program is currently being offered to plan holders of an AARP Medicare Supplement Plan insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company.

 

Membership Details

  • The program provides general access to facilities and waives the enrollment fee for eligible members. 
  • The At Your Best member pays Snap Fitness monthly membership rate of 50% of the retail rate that would be normally charged. This includes new as well as existing members of Snap Fitness. 
  • Optum pays Snap Fitness the remaining 50% of the retail rate if the At Your Best member visits Snapfitness 4 or more times within the calendar month.
  • You may charge to such member a one-time access card fee of the lesser of (i) $20.00 OR (ii) your normal access card fee if such fee is less than $20.00.

 

Fitware Sign Up Instructions

You will enter this member as a Single–Reciprocal member with dues set to your full regular rate. We have created a group within Fitware labelled At Your Best which will discount your member’s monthly rate by 50% when billing is run.

This program requires the membership to be Single-Reciprocal, no prepaid memberships. 

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Periodic Contributor

In the absence of Silversneakers disappearing I signed up with LAFitness which costs me 50% of monthly fee. We got completely screwed by UHC and AARP.  For AARP to state that they had nothing to do with the decision & and to see UHC advertise its supplement by emphasizing “AARPs confidence “ in their product boggles my mind. Do they think we are stupid?    I was thinking Humana Supplement included Silversneakers, but my problem would be that Humana wouldn’t accept me based on my health mess

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This link says it is for Advantage programs.  What about the Supplemental plans?  No information seems to be forthcoming.  I read that organizations are still being signed up, so no complete information is available.  What about a preliminary list being published now, so we can make informed decisions?  Or is this another instance of smoke and mirrors?

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It's going to take me a long time to feel better about AARP. Seems like there has been a complete lack of transparency in taking away Silver Sneakers and their plan for replacement. We left when we could and haven't regretted the decision. We are paying less for more benefits. I can't predict what the future will bring in costs, but it doesn't seem like the move away from AARP will be negative for us in the long run. And it made me feel so much better.

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Totally agree with Kathy. Have NEVER regretted leaving UHC for Anthem.

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I'd really be interested in knowing how many members UHC lost in the last two years when they decided SS was so popular they should offer their own program for a 50% discount (because there was more money to make off their subscribers) instead of for free like they had been doing. I know they lost quite a few- to the point that now they are offering it for FREE... I'm assuming to retain the members they have... and remember they are AARP endorsed and you have to have an AARP membership to enroll. Just sayin'...

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Periodic Contributor

My AARP UHC Supplemental F is offered through my pension fund (retired teacher) and they do not require us to be AARP members. I never joined, was somehow given a membership for 6 months of last year (that's when i turned 65 and started the new plans), but I was dunned to re-up (pay) this year and didn't. My insurance is still valid. None of our annual enrollment handbooks specify having to join AARP to enroll in AARP UHC plan F

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Periodic Contributor

You are indeed fortunate, as the AARP/UHC enrollment forms require an active AARP membership number.  
 
However just maybe, as you posted earlier, there is hope on the horizon for Medigap/Supplemental insurance plan members.  Currently 'Renew  Active' is only for Advantage plan members, but United Healthcare is purportedly offering it as part of the 'At Your Best By UnitedHealthcare' starting January 2020.  Whereas their customer service representatives are not yet aware of this, the sales person I spoke with was able to pull up some preliminary information to indicate it's really going to happen.  If 'Renew Active' becomes available for Supplemental Plans, it will include almost all of the facilities that where available under the 'Silver Sneakers' program.  And you can access multiple gyms.  If true, kudos to AARP/UHC.     
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Periodic Contributor

I'm going to try to add a picture of the materials I recieved, which came in an envelope that said, "You are among the first to find out!" Inside was a letter, where I've highlighted the wording that makes me believe AARP/UHC plan F will again have access to multiple gyms for free starting in January. For the person who said there are no locations near them, the FAQs said they will follow up on nominations on other closer locations and will try to get them to join the network. At your Best.JPGNo gym near me.JPGMultiple locations.JPG

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Newbie

AARP United Healthcare is going to offer "Renew Active" program starting Jan 1, 2020 which is free and allows members to choose 1 "home" gym and participate for no charge. 

They recommend going to the Renew Active website and finding a gym that you will commit to using and contact them to get signed up or ready to activate the free membership Jan 1st. 

 

This is good but does not have the flexibility of the Silver Sneakers which allows members to visit a huge selection of gyms. I have offices in two cities and asked if we could list three gyms and they said "no you just have one home gym".

 

My recommendation is that members should be able to pick 3 which would likely cover our needs.  It also assures that members stay strong and healthy and save money as they move between offices or living locations. 

 

 

 

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Periodic Contributor

Are you on an Advantage program?  I was told something different though I am on a supplemental plan.  Is there different proceedures for different medicare plans under United? 

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Honored Social Butterfly


@mm58536971 wrote:

AARP United Healthcare is going to offer "Renew Active" program starting Jan 1, 2020 which is free and allows members to choose 1 "home" gym and participate for no charge. 

They recommend going to the Renew Active website and finding a gym that you will commit to using and contact them to get signed up or ready to activate the free membership Jan 1st. 

 

This is good but does not have the flexibility of the Silver Sneakers which allows members to visit a huge selection of gyms. I have offices in two cities and asked if we could list three gyms and they said "no you just have one home gym".

 

My recommendation is that members should be able to pick 3 which would likely cover our needs.  It also assures that members stay strong and healthy and save money as they move between offices or living locations. 

 

 

 


I believe the Renew Active program is only associated with the Medicare Advantage program of UHC.  Which means that the Medicare health coverage under the Advantage plan is limited in geographical area due to networks.  So why would the insurer want to give access to gyms outside of this same general area.?

 

If you are traveling between cities and have a Medicare Advantage plan, you should make sure that you know the limits of your plan in case there is health care needed.

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Periodic Contributor

Yes the medigap plan uses a different program for gyms.  Apparently AARP has made some deal with Planet Fitness and won't discuss other gyms.  This is useless for me as PF is over 30 miles a way and doesn't offer any of the programs I use - as in yoga classes.   My local gym which is on silver sneakers is 1 mile away - I am at the gym 5 days a week so the travel amoubts to a cost of  $8 a day for approximately 250 days or $2000 a year.  Plus I had to pay $600 for my wife and myself to remain at our current gym in 2019.  Plus, Humana is less expensive for the Plan F I am enrolled in.  

 

Thanks for being such a great insurance sales company AARP instead of representing older folks. 

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Periodic Contributor

I have now signed up to a competing g insurer over this issue. Chose my gym (250 visits a year) over my Dr. (1 visit per year) when AARP/UHC chose profit over wellness.  (Fyi....in my County, AARP/UHC dropped fitness riders completely..i.e. replaced with zilch)

 

Life goes on.

 

Good luck all 

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