Have you seen the TV advertisements for Medicare program that includes SilverSneakers benefits?
Over the past few week’s during Medicare’s Open Enrollment period I’ve seen at least 1 television advertisement a night talking about these programs.
And they look very attractive providing both health insurance and free gym memberships. Right?
For those of you not familiar, SilverSneakers is a program offered with certain Medicare Advantage plans that provides free memberships to participating gyms across the country.
I remember a few months after I joined the Medicare Coach a new client came in and said “I was talking to my friend the other day and she has a Medicare plan that pays for her gym membership. I want that plan too so I can save some money.”
At the Medicare Coach our clients ultimately make their decision, but we have an obligation to share the pros and cons of different Medicare options to ensure they are making well informed decision. For this client, moving to a plan offering a gym membership with would mean leaving her Original Medicare plan and joining a Medicare Advantage plan.
I told the client “I’m happy to move you to a plan that will pay for your gym membership, but I want to make sure you understand what you are giving up by making the switch. By joining that Medicare Advantage plan, you are giving up being able to use your health insurance at some of the doctors your friends have seen when they received their cancer diagnosis, such as Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson. Is saving $75/month on a gym membership worth giving up access to some of the best health care in the country?”
Based on this she decided it was best to stay with her Original Medicare plan instead of switching to a plan offering SilverSneakers.
Very frequently we hear from people who want the SilverSneakers program they see on TV, but once we explain the plan they usually realize they are better off on an Original Medicare plan.
Also, please keep in mind that insurance companies and Medicare brokers love to sell these SilverSneaker Medicare Advantage plans because they are among the most profitable and pay some of the highest commissions.
I share this with you because the number 1 reason people regret their Medicare decision is because they didn’t fully understand the pros and cons of the Medicare program they picked.
While most of our clients pick Original Medicare, some of our clients are better fit for a Medicare Advantage plan with SilverSneakers benefits.
So before you make your Medicare decision please understand the pros and cons of the plan you are considering.
Click here to learn more about the key differences between the Medicare programs: Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. This will help you get a high-level look at the programs to help decide which is best for you.
Again, for some people a program with “SilverSneakers” may be the best option, but please don’t make your decision solely on this gym benefit.