by BARB BERGGOETZ
Judy and Paul Tedesco have logged countless miles trekking around the Twin Lakes Recreation Center track. Judy also rides the recumbent bike, Paul enjoys pickleball, and they both use the weight machines. The couple visits the City-run fitness facility nearly every day. They’re both 73.
Like other seniors, the Tedescos take advantage of an insurance-based fitness plan. These plans, covered by an increasing number of health insurance policies, include paid or partially paid fitness facility memberships for older adults and sometimes people with disabilities. Insurance companies reimburse facilities at a given rate and provide specific benefits.
Megan Stark, membership coordinator at Twin Lakes, says plans like this attract more seniors. “If they don’t have insurance-based memberships, a lot of seniors would have an additional cost to join, and they’re more likely on a fixed budget,” she says.
As a full-coverage facility, the benefits of an insurance-based membership at Twin Lakes are the same as a regular membership.
The Tedescos, retired professionals who moved here in 2013, are covered by Renew Active, offered by UnitedHealthcare AARP Medicare Advantage. The company pays half their fees if they visit the facility four times a month.
“We’ve always been active,” Judy says. “No matter what age you are, if you’re active, do aerobics and weight-lifting, you have a better chance of avoiding some major illnesses.” She adds they would join anyway, but the reduced cost helps.
Paul also enjoys the social aspect of knowing other exercisers and staff members. “For us, it’s become kind of a place of the heart,” he says.
Stark estimates Twin Lakes, 1700 W. Bloomfield Road, has 500 insurance- based memberships. In addition to Renew Active, the facility accepts Active&Fit, Silver&Fit, SilverSneakers, and FitnessCoach. Twin Lakes offers three senior-oriented classes, focusing on balance and coordination, strength and mobility, and yoga.
Since 2018, the YMCA of Monroe County has accepted Silver&Fit under the IU Health Medicare Advantage plan, and 200 households are enrolled, says Kevin Vail, Northwest branch director. The YMCA only accepts plans if companies reimburse at the regular membership level. Many Y seniors, he adds, take advantage of aquatic exercise classes, the Healthy Heart and Active Lives program, the indoor track, and fitness equipment.
Those interested in receiving information on insurance-based memberships can ask fitness facilities to look up coverage with their company.