Are Gym Memberships Covered by Health Insurance or Medicare?

secure Editorial Standards

SmartFinancial Offers Unbiased, Fact-based Information. Our fact-checked articles are intended to educate insurance shoppers so they can make the right buying decisions. Learn More

You may be surprised to find out that you are eligible for a discount to join a gym from your health insurance company. Most (but not all) health insurers are in partnership with gyms and fitness centers as a way to incentivize members to take better care of their health through exercise. For Medicare recipients, many Medicare Advantage plans offer SilverSneakers® and Silver & Fit Programs. Both of these programs offer free or discounted gym memberships and resources designed to help improve strength, flexibility, balance and endurance for seniors. Here’s more on how you can save on a gym membership.

Key Takeaways

  • Many health insurance companies provide discounts for gym memberships.
  • Many Medicare Advantage plans offer memberships that allow free access to participating gyms.
  • You may be able to pay for a gym membership with an FSA, HSA or HRA, if you have one.

Will Health Insurance Pay a Gym Membership?

While your health insurance won’t pay your entire membership cost, most offer reduced rates for gym memberships, fitness gear and even online classes. Review your benefits with your current insurer. If you’re not happy with the gym membership perks, consider another plan during Open Enrollment or if you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

Even though it costs health insurance companies money to offer members these discounts, they understand that it will cost them much less down the road if members are actively using their memberships to stay fit and healthy. Consider that the next time you want to avoid hitting the mat!

HSAs, FSAs and HRAs May Pay for Gym Membership

A Health Savings Account (HSA), a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) may help you save money on a gym membership too. You may have to provide a note from a doctor explaining that exercise is medically necessary to use money in these accounts, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to get approval. Check with your employer or benefits administrator for specific details.

An FSA and HSA are savings accounts that let you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. An HRA is an employer-funded group health plan from which employees are reimbursed tax-free for qualified medical expenses.

FSAs and HRAs are offered through work and HSAs are usually only bundled with a high deductible health plan (HDHP).

With an HSA or HRA, you may have to provide a note from a doctor explaining that exercise is medically necessary.

Does Medicare Pay for Gym Memberships?

While Medicare does not cover gym memberships, the private version of it, called Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C, can benefit members with free memberships to gyms and the SilverSneakers® and Silver & Fit Programs.

SilverSneakers probably offers a broader range of classes but Silver & Fit offers an at-home fitness kit, which is useful if you don’t live near a participating gym.

It’s a good idea to see what each of these two programs offer near you to choose the right one.

Here’s more information on these two popular programs for seniors:

What Is SilverSneakers®?

SilverSneakers® is a free membership with many Medicare Advantage plans. The membership includes live online fitness classes, on-demand videos, and access to 16,000+ gyms across the country.

After you enroll in SilverSneakers®, you’ll have access to FLEX Community workout classes. FLEX Community classes are held at community centers, parks and other shared spaces or online. Classes include yoga, tai chi and Zumba®.

What Is the Silver & Fit Program?

Like SilverSneakers®, Silver & Fit is a free membership with many Medicare Advantage plans. With its membership, participants get a free at-home fitness kit, which is helpful for those who do not live near a participating gym or fitness center.

Silver & Fit boasts over 11,000 participating fitness centers, a library of useful videos and online classes.

Bonus: Another Way To Save on a Gym Membership

You may be able to deduct gym membership fees from your income taxes if you have a medical condition diagnosed by a healthcare professional that requires exercise. It's important to consult with a tax professional or the IRS for guidance on eligibility and requirements.

Get Personalized Health Insurance Quotes

Health Insurance and Medicare Coverage of Gym Memberships FAQs

How can I find out if my health insurance covers gym memberships?

Call your health insurance provider or review your plan's website to see if it includes gym membership benefits. Many insurers have a page dedicated to affiliation discounts.

Can I get gym membership reimbursement through health insurance?

Some health insurance plans may offer gym membership reimbursement as an incentive for policyholders to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Check with your insurance provider to see you have this option.

What eligibility requirements are there for gym membership benefits through health insurance?

Eligibility criteria for gym membership benefits can vary. Not every gym will be a participating partner. You may also need to take advantage of the gym a certain number of times a week. It’s best to contact your provider to find out what the specifics are for your plan.

Get a Free Health Insurance Quote Online Now.