Tom Schrette and Alan Cash

Tom Schrette and Alan Cash

Dear Tom and Alan:

I enjoy reading your column and find the questions or dilemmas that some folks have very interesting. And, to be honest, I sometimes understand your answer, ha ha.

Anyway, I have an Anthem Blue Cross Medicare Supplement plan called Innovative F.

It sure has good coverage, no complaints there. I do keep receiving information from my Medicare Supplement plan about “Silver Sneakers.”

They say it’s a new benefit not available to everyone?


Tom: Great question, Ted.

For about as long as I can remember, Silver Sneakers has been an added benefit to most of the Medicare Supplement plans as well as our local Medicare Advantage plan, SCAN. The benefit has always been a discounted membership in a local fitness club.

The problem, of course, was that for about as long as I can remember, there was no facility in Napa that took Silver Sneakers. We always had calls from people that had to go to Vacaville, Fairfield or Vallejo to find a place.

So … imagine my surprise when our Anthem Blue Cross representative sent out an email blast to all agents announcing a gym coming to Napa that took Silver Sneakers.

With the renovation of the former Fresh and Easy grocery store in River Park, a new Planet Fitness has opened.

Al: Ergo, with my Medicare card and my Anthem Blue Cross card in hand, I went to Planet Fitness to sign up.

Oh no, I was told, first you have to have a Planet Fitness membership ID number. Went home, called the 800 number, they emailed me a copy of the card with the ID number.

Taking my copy to the gym once again, I met with the very helpful Kayla. In about 10 minutes I had the access card to the facility.

Here’s how the Silver Sneakers program works:

For a regular membership, the charge is $1 enrollment fee and $10 per month.

Silver Sneakers pays both of those expenses.

For a Black Card membership, the fee is $20 per month. Silver Sneakers pays for half.

If you choose the Black Card membership, you get to use massage chairs, tanning, and hydromassage. The brochure also says you can use more than 1,500 locations worldwide and have unlimited guest privileges.

Evidently, the regular membership for $10 gives you unlimited access to your home club and the use of most of the equipment there.

For members, there are daily fitness training sessions. I think what pushed me over the edge was Pizza Night on the first Monday of the month and Bagel Morning on the second Tuesday of the month.

Tom: You are too easy.

Silver Sneakers is not part of Medicare and it is not insurance. It is a value added program.

Enrollment online is available at silversneakers.com/member. In a few more years, I will see you there.

And a special message from the insurance company attorney: please check with your doctor before starting a fitness regimen of any kind.

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Submit questions to schrette@gmail.com or alancash@gmail.com.