Written by Rose Hebler

Pumping Iron at 65+

 

Should Medigap Insurance Include Gym Memberships?

Senior Stretching

A new study released by Brown University found that senior insurance plans that offer coverage for gym-membership fees attract healthier adults. This finding begs the question, “Should fitness benefits be included in Original Medicare?”

The study analyzed 22 Medicare Advantage plans. Eleven of those plans included fitness club memberships and the other half did not. Researchers found that seniors who had the plan with the fitness club incentive reported being in either excellent or very good health.

In addition, the study found that Medicare Advantage Plans that include the fitness benefit are gaining popularity.

Out of 101 Medicare Advantage, 58 of those plans offered gym memberships in 2008 compared to 14 in 2002.

So what does this mean? We all know that routine exercise improves health, but what can we conclude about Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance? Medicare Advantage plans are approved by Medicare, but are actually packaged and sold by private insurance companies. Offering these fitness plans proved to be a great business proposition for Medicare Advantage plan holders, perhaps the same could be true for those on Original Medicare. If gym memberships were included in Medicare benefits or Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, healthier seniors would flock to these plans. Healthier seniors with Medicare or Medigap Insurance equals the government spending less on curing sick beneficiaries. Adding that benefit could tack on some extra fees, but you know what they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure.”

According to an article by, Sarah Frier from Bloomberg, Medicare Supplement Insurance Companies like Humana and United Health already offer these plans through their Medicare Advantage plans. Medigap Insurance is also sold by private insurance companies, however, these types of plans are standardized by the government. The downfall with Medicare Advantage of course is the restrictive nature of hospital and physician options, so Medicare and Medigap Insurance is still better for all around coverage. See our video on the difference between Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicare Advantage, and contact us today to find out which plan is right for you.

Do you think offering this type of benefit would encourage seniors to pursue more active lifestyles? Voice in on the comments section below.

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About The Author

Rose Hebler

Rose Hebler