Does Medicare Cover Pilates? 

Pilates is an exercise program designed to build muscle strength, increase flexibility and improve coordination with a focus on the core. The fitness approach is the namesake of Joseph Pilates, who introduced the routine in the U.S. in the 1920s. What was then a unique method of conditioning grew in popularity among fitness enthusiasts, including celebrities and athletes.

If you are a Medicare beneficiary interested in Pilates and other forms of exercise, you may be looking for a Medicare plan that covers the cost of fitness classes. 

Original Medicare benefits

Original Medicare consists of Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), and as an option, Part D (prescription drugs). Coverage is limited to medically necessary services and supplies from healthcare providers and suppliers enrolled in the Medicare program. Medicare recipients who want to expand their benefits to include wellness services opt for Part C, the Medicare Advantage program.

Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Medicare Advantage (MA) is an alternative plan you can enroll in. MA plans are offered by Medicare-approved insurance companies and include Part A and Part B benefits. Many MA plans include prescription drug coverage and other additional benefits. MA policies can offer fitness programs, vision services, dental care, hearing benefits and over-the-counter products.

Health and wellness benefits encompass gym memberships, discounted classes, exercise tools and workout videos. Some MA plans partner with programs like SilverSneakers, a fitness and wellness affiliate that connects you to a wide range of resources for staying fit. Depending on your location, you may be eligible for Pilates and other classes at a local gym, in your community or online.

Some Medicare Advantage plans charge a monthly premium, which you would pay directly to your insurer. The Part C premium is in addition to the premium you pay Medicare for Part B. You can check pricing and availability with a licensed insurance agent.  

Medicaid gym memberships

Medicaid is a government health insurance program to help low-income individuals and families access healthcare services. Although it is a federal program, it is run by the states. So, if you receive Medicaid, check with your local agency to find out if your Medicaid state program offers fitness benefits.

Why physical activity is important

The core of your body includes your abdomen, lower back and hips. Strengthening your core helps with balance, protects your back and makes it easier to perform other physical activities. Pilates is known for targeting core muscles. However, Pilates is not an aerobic activity, so consider adding cardio exercises to your routine. For optimal overall results, try to build variation into your workout.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, staying physically active is one of the most important pursuits for good health. “Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.”

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