While all Medicare Supplemental Plans are standardized a few insurance companies offer the The Silver Sneaker program to help Medicare-eligible seniors improve their health. You might want to consider this program before choosing between Medigap plans because not every plan offers Silver Sneakers.
This article was updated on Oct 2017 to reflect new information
What is the Silver Sneaker Program?
The Silver Sneaker program is a free or discounted gym memberships for seniors. Silver Sneakers works at private gyms such as Golds Gym or the YMCA. Gym participation in Silver Sneaker’s vary by county. Some Medigap policies offer this extra for seniors 65 and over but most do not.
Why Take Advantage of Silver Sneakers?
The Silver Sneaker program has a two fold effect: 1) physical, 2) emotional. Physically your health will improve if you work out. You can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, lessen the side effects of diabetes, and you’ll have more energy just by walking 30 minutes a day. Working out can improve mental health by lowering depression, as well as making you feel less lonely because you will meet more people which will increase your health tremendously.
According to Pysch Central, researchers at the University of Chicago have found, “the impact of loneliness on premature death is nearly as strong as the impact of disadvantaged socioeconomic status, which they found increases the chances of dying early by 19 percent.”
Can’t Get to the Gym? No Problem.
Silver Steps is a program for seniors who live 15 miles or further from a gym. It is a personalized workout program that includes a kit with a how-to DVDs, resistance belts, and an exercise video. So you won’t be left out if you live in a rural area. Silver Sneakers also offers and online component to help with nutrition, streaming exercises, and a forum to talk to other members.