The Benefits Of Finding A Plan With A Health Club Membership

Question: My neighbor and friend has a Medicare Advantage Plan that pays her Health Club membership. I have Medicare with a Medigap plan. How can I get that benefit with my insurance? Do I have to switch my insurance?

Answer: Your question comes at an interesting time! When reviewing the differences between the many products offered to work with your Medicare benefit, the Health Club membership has been one of the variables that we use to make the insurance decision.

As of July 1, 2018, the answer is different than it has always been. One of the many differences between Medicare Advantage (MA) plans vs. Medicare + Medicare Supplement + Stand Alone Drug Plan (PDP) was the Health Club Membership. A number of the Medicare Advantage (MA) plans offer the Health Club Membership at no additional cost. There are a couple MA plans that this year began charging an additional fee each month to get that reduced Health Club Membership.

Now as of July 1, a similar Health Club Membership is available to those individual in New York state (and some other states) with the AARP United Health Care Options Medicare Supplement Plans. There are many, many seniors in New York that have these Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigaps). They chose the insurance because of its very comprehensive coverage and relatively lost cost (especially compared to other insurance companies’ premiums). Now those same AARP UHC Medigap enrollees are eligible for an additional benefit, a potentially reduced cost at their Health Club!

This benefit comes with no additional premium above the cost of your insurance. It simply requires you enroll in the benefit. They are calling the benefit the “Personalized Health and Wellness Resources.” This benefit includes a discounted Gym Membership, Wellness Coaches, 24/7 Registered Nurse Access, Access to Community Resources and Programs (like classes and events), as well as Online Resources and Wellness Tools.

All of these Health & Wellness benefits come at no additional cost, you simply have to register to receive the benefit. Now you KNOW that you won’t have to wait long to hear of these benefits. AARP and UHC mail you something every day don’t they??

I am an AARP member, I joined to get the discounts at stores, hotels, and of course Dunkin Donuts! As an AARP member, I literally get something almost every day in my mail box from them. If you give them your email you get even more! All that stuff (information) can get overwhelming. Sometimes we have the notion to just throw it all away.

This time I am going to caution you about throwing all that stuff away! If you get what looks like junk, you might want to take a look at it. The information may be about this new benefit. After you review the information you will know how to register to get this reduced cost membership at your Health Club like your friend gets!

The other important information is which Health Clubs are included. For Chautauqua County the list includes; Curves (Jamestown & Dunkirk), YMCA (Jamestown & Lakewood), and Planet Fitness.

These memberships are not covered in full but will be 50% of the usual cost. This benefit is different than the offers of the Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan. As I noted earlier, some MA Plans offer full health club membership fees paid by them at no additional premium. Some MA Plans offer full health club membership fees paid by them at an additional monthly premium. This benefit is different from either of those. This new benefit comes at no additional premium, but will pay 50% of the Health Club Membership.

The website related to this benefit is www.HealthYourWay.com. The website has a log in procedure, and once registered you can review the many benefits available to you. This process of course requires a log in and once that is established you will have access to all sorts of new benefits and programs.

The other information important to know is that if your club is not included on the list of approved clubs, there is a referral flyer that you can get or number to call and get information on how your club can potentially be added to this list. So in reviewing the list of current clubs included, if your club isn’t on the list (like JCC or Boys & Girls Club) you can obtain that referral flyer and work with the club to get them on the list!

I am really excited to have the opportunity to learn more about these Health & Wellness benefits offered by the United Health Care Options Medicare Supplement Plans. I think they will see a lot of individuals taking advantage of this free benefit.

Now you and your friend can go your health club together! You will see some savings in the membership fees and still have that great comprehensive Health Insurance you know and love!

To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with insurance questions or concerns, please call 720-9797 or e-mail her at janells@lutheran-jamestown.org.

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