Preventative health care is probably the simplest aspect of health care that rarely gets much attention when health care is discussed. Keeping our bodies healthy and well by taking preventative actions makes much more sense than waiting for conditions to exacerbate if they could have been avoided. Just as we change the oil in our automobiles to avoid greater repair costs, we must treat our bodies well to avoid higher medical bills. Health insurance companies have become more receptive to this concept. There are insurance benefits available that support preventative health measures, primarily regular exercise.
For the Medicare eligible population, there are programs available that either completely cover or subsidize fitness facility memberships. The Pointe at Ballwin Commons is a provider for several of these programs……
- Silver and Fit
- At Your Best
- Renew Active (beginning January 2019)
These programs are offered through Medicare supplement/advantage plans. Medicare enrollment period (Annual Election Period) is happening now through December 7. If you are Medicare eligible and are shopping for supplement plans, simply ask the insurance agent if the plan you are considering has a fitness facility membership benefit.
Whether you are Medicare eligible or not, it is worth checking with your insurance to see if there are similar benefits. Some benefits will pay a portion of a fitness facility’s membership. This may be a flat reimbursement rate per year or a monthly reimbursement based on meeting attendance quotas. As a member of the insurance, you might still pay for the membership out of pocket, but you will be reimbursed upon submitting the proper paperwork and/or meeting a monthly attendance quota.
Another avenue for this benefit is through the workplace. Some employers have responded to the preventative health care concept by offering their own incentive plans. Check with your workplace to find out if your employer will reimburse a portion of your membership. If your insurance or workplace offers incentives to use a fitness facility, bring that information to The Pointe. The Pointe is a provider for several programs.
Other preventative health benefits such as regular wellness screenings might also be part of your insurance plan. These are important to catch conditions at early stages, but it is our personal responsibilities to take action and participate in true preventative health care. This includes regular exercise and eating well. It is great that insurance programs are subsidizing memberships to fitness facilities, but it is still up to the individual to use the membership.
Insurance companies offer benefits based on the ‘win-win’ concept. Since regular exercise equals better health, they are taking the step to offer membership coverage benefits in the hopes of reducing claims. An insurance company’s risk is that too many people could take advantage of these benefits without actually using the fitness facilities. If this happens these benefits will simply start to disappear. As in other facets of life, the people doing the right thing and playing by the rules will suffer most should insurance companies decide that their risk is too great and claims are not being affected. Simply put if you have a membership to a fitness facility, you must use it! Preventative health care is only as effective as an individual’s willingness to participate.