Staying healthy and active is essential, especially as we age. Cardiovascular activity, strength training, and flexibility exercises, in conjunction with a nutritional, balanced diet, can help you maintain your physical and mental well-being throughout your senior years. You may be considering joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer, or starting a new workout routine, but can Medicare help you accomplish your fitness goals?
Medicare’s Preventive Services
Medicare’s preventive services can get you started on a path to physical fitness by covering an initial Welcome to Medicare visit and a yearly Wellness visit. The Welcome to Medicare visit is your opportunity to review your health during your first 12 months after enrolling in Part B. During your appointment, you can discuss your fitness goals and discuss potential risks or needs you may have in regards to exercise and activity. The yearly Wellness visit takes place after you have had Part B for more than 12 months. This annual appointment will give you a chance to touch base with your physician, review changes in your weight and overall health and make adjustments to your exercise and nutrition plan to meet your current needs.
Exercising is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and there are many ways to stay active as we get older. While hiring a personal trainer, or someone who will act as your own fitness coach in a gym setting or in your own home, may be helpful, it is not covered by Medicare benefits. If you are interested in visiting a local gym or fitness center, you may want to consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes a SilverSneakers partnership.
What is SilverSneakers? SilverSneakers is a free fitness program offered by some Medicare Advantage plans that provides beneficiaries with unlimited access to every participating gym and fitness center in the network, including 14,000 locations across the country. These fitness centers offer a variety of equipment, including weights, treadmills, pools, fitness classes, and other amenities. You can get active outside of a gym through SilverSneakers’ FLEX, which takes the workout outside. FLEX includes outdoor classes like yoga, tai chi, and boot camps with certified instructors.
Nutrition is another piece of the puzzle in maintaining your good health. Medicare Part B covers nutritional services under certain conditions. Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes, kidney disease, or those who have had a kidney transplant may be eligible for nutritional therapy services. Part B also covers BMI (body mass index) screenings and behavioral counseling and if your physician diagnoses you with obesity, you may qualify for behavioral counseling in a primary care setting. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer additional nutritional therapy and counseling. Check with your plan for more details.