Does Medicare Cover YMCA Membership or Other Fitness Benefits?

Health Compare

Health Compare
Aug 26, 2021

Do you have questions regarding Medicare and if it covers the cost of joining a gym or YMCA membership? Famous all around the world as a non-profit health and fitness organization, the YMCA has been promoting well-being through its programs and activities for many decades.

Today, the YMCA still provides a wide range of fitness programs, personal training services, sports and aquatics facilities, social activities, and community events for people of all ages. This may have you wondering what insurance does the YMCA take.

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Get Fit at Your Local Gym or YMCA

While YMCA memberships aren’t offered through Original Medicare insurance, there are other gym memberships and fitness programs that may be available through a Medicare Advantage plan.

Gym and fitness program memberships are becoming more popular with seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries these days because they realize the value physical and mental fitness can bring to overall health and well-being. It is widely understood that taking part in fitness and wellness programs can help participants by:

  • Reducing the risks for chronic illnesses
  • Building strength in bones and muscles
  • Boosting mobility to avoid falls and raise quality of life in everyday activities
  • Reducing the risk of depression
  • Helping with weight management
  • Increasing life expectancy

Here’s a look at how you can get coverage for fitness program memberships through Medicare to help answer the question: how do I get a free gym membership and other fitness benefits with Medicare?

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Does Your Medicare Coverage Include Fitness Programs?

Original Medicare

If you have coverage through Original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) alone, unfortunately, you don’t have benefits for a gym or fitness club membership. Original Medicare beneficiaries are responsible for 100 percent of the cost of all non-covered services such as gym memberships and fitness programs.

TIP: Find out which plans offer the best fitness benefits that meet your needs when you try our Medicare plan finder tool.

Medicare Supplement plans

On the other hand, if you have Original Medicare plus a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, you may have coverage for these benefits. 

While the actual standardized Medicare Supplement plans DO NOT include gym or fitness club memberships, some of the major Medigap insurance companies, in some states, include SilverSneakers or other club memberships as extra benefits bundled with their Medigap plans. 

These companies choose to include these attractive, additional benefits because they realize that enrollees find them valuable. Medicare Supplement plan providers aren’t obligated to include them, so many companies don’t. If you are looking for supplemental insurance and are interested in the extra benefits, you should ask the provider if they are available. 

Which Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) Plans Cover Gym Memberships

Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is an alternative form of Medicare insurance. Part C plans are sold by private insurance companies that work with Medicare. These providers are required by U.S. federal law to provide at least the same benefits that Original Medicare Part A and Part B provide. 

Most Medicare Advantage plans also include prescription drug coverage and extra benefits to enhance interest in plan enrollment. Depending on the insurer and which plan you choose, you may have access to routine vision, hearing, and/or dental care; transportation to medical appointments; over-the-counter medicine and supply allowances; and more. There may not be a plan in your area that has all of these benefits in one plan. Allowance amounts cannot be combined with other benefit allowances. Limitations and restrictions may apply. 

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Many Part C plans provide enrollees with fitness benefits and/or allowances for fitness program reimbursements. Allowances and programs like SilverSneakers are a great option for those who live in a location with limited access to gyms and fitness programs.

How much does a gym membership cost without Medicare insurance?

If you don’t have coverage for a fitness program like SilverSneakers, you can still join a gym for a monthly or annual fee. Prices vary according to location, facilities, program amenities, etc. 

In the U.S. you can sign up for a good gym and fitness program that costs between $38.00 and $75.00 a month*. Most programs give you access to the following equipment and activities:

  • Weight machines
  • Treadmills
  • Ellipticals
  • Walking tracks
  • Group exercise classes
  • Online access to exercise and workout videos
  • Some have pool access

If you are considering Medicare Advantage for your Medicare coverage and you would like to have access to a fitness program, make sure you discuss all available options with your licensed insurance agent before committing to a plan. 

TIP: Find out which plans offer the best fitness benefits that meet your needs when you try our Medicare plan finder tool.

*​​Average cost of a monthly gym membership in the United States in 2021, by state/

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