houston , Life Time Fitness clubs have announced they will begin limiting access to seniors who are on Medicare.
“We go every day, usually at least six days a week,” Paul Hughes said.
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Going to the gym is a big part of life for Paul and his wife Alba.
“I usually do two classes a day,” Alba said.
Like many people on Medicare, Paul’s membership is paid through the Silver Sneakers program.
“Basically, there’s no charge for me,” he said. “I pay my wife a fee every month, but my fee is free, and you can go whenever you want, seven days a week.”
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Paul and other standard Medicare members received e-mails informing them that starting Jan. 1, their access to gyms would be limited.
“For example, on Saturdays, I can’t go in until 2 p.m.,” he said.
On Sundays, standard Medicare members can visit during all open hours.
But from Monday to Friday, they can only visit between 9:30 am to 3 pm
Alba says she takes classes at 8:30 am
“Normally, we can go together in one car,” she said. “But now he can’t go with me, because he can’t get in until 9:30.”
Medicare members who want to regain full access to the gym will have to pay $100 per month.
For many senior citizens, this is easier said than done.
“We don’t really like it,” Paul said. ‘People 50, 60, 70 years old have signed a petition asking Lifetime to change their opinion on this.’
“I think it’s a form of discrimination for the elderly,” Alba said.
After calling and visiting Lifetime Fitness, we were told the general manager had our number. We have not received a reply yet.
Lifetime released the following statement following the sanctions:
The change, scheduled to take place on January 1, 2024, is driven in part by the rate that Medicare Fitness Program administrators are paying on behalf of enrollees (which is a small fraction of our regular membership dues and almost all eligible Medicare is a free product for members), as well as our desire to ensure a fair and equitable offering relative to what people under 65 are paying for lifetime membership access. Ultimately, as opposed to not renewing agreements and providing no further membership options for Medicare enrollees, our goal was to create a solution that could continue to serve the large and rapidly growing Medicare population and provide sustained, significant value benefits. Can do this with. We acknowledge there is no perfect solution for everyone, but we believe we have arrived at an offering that still provides strong value with unlimited trips with options – including modified hours Includes a basic subscription ($0 for most) and a signature upgrade option. The club offers unlimited access and other benefits during operating hours. (For note, some other Medicare Fitness participants limit the number of visits per month and we wanted our members to have access seven days a week.
Lifetime officials have explained why this policy was implemented. Lifetime outlined several factors that contributed to the decision to restrict seniors’ access to gyms and health clubs under Medicare:
- These changes stem from recent conversations with Medicare Fitness Program administrators, who inform us about the rate we pay our members at each renewal.
- In return, we have created an agreement that ensures eligible Medicare enrollees continue to have access to Life Time, given our ongoing commitment to healthy aging.
- Because the rates paid by Medicare providers are significantly discounted, this membership also respects the fair and equitable approach and value provided relative to other members paying for full-rate membership, while providing these members with Life time access is available on subsidy basis.
- The alternative would have been neither contract renewal, nor continued access for lifetime. Because Life Time is committed to healthy aging, modified access hours were established to allow participants in eligible Medicare programs the option to continue joining Life Time and participating in our growing Aurora program offerings.
- We believe this membership will continue to reflect the products, services and access that meet the interests and expectations of the majority of Medicare enrollees. The hours were selected with the best interests of all members in mind.
- A Signature upgrade option is available for members who want unlimited club access, which is significantly lower than the full rates other members are paying. While other centers limit Medicare members to a 2-4 visit amount, we offer unlimited visits per month.
- So, members age 65 and older have more optionsTo subscribe than anyone else. All subscriptions include unlimited visits per month. There are 4 options:
- Medicare Free: hours are restricted
- Upgrade to Medicare Signature: ($80.00 to 150.00 per month, depending on club) There are no restricted hours and includes beach club access and signature classes
- full price membership: For people who are not on a Medicare plan approved by Life Time. (99.00 to 299.00 per month, depending on club)
- 65 and over membershipFor those who are not on a Medicare plan approved by Life Time ($89.00 to 269.00 per month, depending on the club)
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