SilverSneakers is a national program that helps older adults take greater control of their health by engaging in physical activity. We understand that SilverSneakers is a benefit offered to members of many Medicare plans across the U.S., and to group retirees. The program provides for a basic fitness center membership within a participating gym. This means that SilverSneakers members are not required to pay out of pocket costs for basic gym memberships because the health plan provider has agreed to pay for the participant’s membership. Yet we have found that there have been occasions in which SilverSneakers participants have been targeted by gym sales personnel and were subject to pressure to purchase additional services such as Personal Training packages. In the event a SilverSneakers member expresses interest in other additional services, the gym’s representative must ensure that the SilverSneakers member is aware that additional services require an extra cost which may not be covered by the health plan provider. If the SilverSneakers member does not express an interest in additional services, the member should not be subject to pressure to purchase such services.
Gym owners should also be aware that every SilverSneakers member is required to sign a membership agreement regardless of how the membership dues will be paid. This is because Georgia law mandates that every gym member, whether they are a SilverSneakers member or not, sign a written agreement or contract. Gyms should never assume that because SilverSneakers memberships are short term memberships, that they are not required to sign a written agreement. If your facility participates in the SilverSneakers program and you have questions on these matters, please feel free to contact us.
As previously mentioned, SilverSneakers gym memberships are paid for by a health plan provider and may be cancelled at the option of the member.
Although members of the SilverSneakers program may cancel their gym memberships at their own option, a gym’s sales representative is not allowed to line through or cross out any statutory provision contained in the membership agreement because it is assumed that those provisions are not applicable to the member. Gym owners need to be aware that lines that are drawn through any of the mandatory statutory provisions will void the entire contract.
Owners should also be aware that the SilverSneakers program offers a national reciprocity agreement which allows SilverSneakers members the opportunity to visit any participating fitness center and class site across the nation when they travel. This means that participating gyms must make every effort to ensure that SilverSneakers members that are visiting their facility under the reciprocity agreement, are always properly documented and completes all of the required paperwork. If at any time there is a request for the cancellation of a gym membership by a SilverSneakers member, such a request must be submitted in writing to the participating gym. The SilverSneakers member is also responsible for contacting the health plan provider to inform them of the written request for cancellation that was submitted to the gym. We recommend that the SilverSneakers member also provide a copy of the written request for cancellation to the health plan provider. Doing so, would provide confirmation to the health plan provider that the member would no longer be using the services of the participating gym. As is the case with other memberships, Silver Sneakers members are required to return all access cards and key fobs, upon the termination of their gym memberships. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us.