Medicare and Gym Membership
This article was updated on: 09/15/2018
The National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends that older adults try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity endurance exercise most days of the week for optimal health. Many people find that gym memberships are a great way to help them get the regular exercise they need. Unfortunately, if you are enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), there is generally no coverage for a gym membership or fitness programs.
Does Medicare ever cover gym memberships?
Although Original Medicare Part A and Part B generally doesn’t cover routine gym memberships, it may cover an approved exercise and education program for cardiac rehabilitation if your doctor believes it’s medically necessary and one of the following conditions applies to you:
- You’ve had a heart attack within the last year.
- You’ve had bypass surgery, angioplasty, or a coronary stent placement.
- You have stable angina.
- You’ve had heart valve repair or replacement.
- You have stable chronic heart failure.
If you qualify, Part B may cover 80% of approved charges after you meet your Part B deductible.
Does Medicare Advantage cover gym memberships?
Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) offers an alternative way to get your Medicare benefits. By law, all Medicare Advantage plans must cover everything included in Original Medicare (except for hospice care, which is still covered under Part A). However, Medicare Advantage is offered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare to offer benefits, so they are able to include additional benefits and coverage not available under Original Medicare.
For example, many Medicare Advantage plans include coverage for prescription drugs as well as coverage for routine vision, dental, and even hearing care services. Some even included wellness benefits including discounted gym memberships or other wellness programs to help you get the physical activity you need to stay healthy. In many cases, Medicare Advantage plans also have lower deductible and/or copayment amounts than Original Medicare. Not all Medicare Advantage plan types and benefits may be available in all locations; however, you must continue to pay your Part B premiums (plus any additional premiums required by your plan).
Note: The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends talking with your doctor before you begin a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t been active for a long time and plan to significantly increase your activity level. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor about any health conditions you may have that might affect your ability to exercise.
The NIA says that regular exercise can benefit you even if you’re currently healthy. Regular physical activity with a gym membership may even help prevent certain diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and diabetes. In some cases, according to the NIA, regular exercise can even help you manage chronic conditions such as arthritis and high blood pressure. Ask your doctor about a gym membership or exercise program if you are unsure if it’s safe or beneficial for you.
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