Each year older adults are given the opportunity to join, switch or drop a Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan when they first enroll, during the Open Enrollment Period, or during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from Jan. 1–March 31.
We took this Open Enrollment window to bring up a new collaboration between SilverSneakers, which is offered through some Medicare Advantage plans, and Apple Fitness+, in recognition of an increasing trend where Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans allow more of such non-medical benefits into the program.
ASA asked Richard Ashworth, an ASA board member and President, CEO and board member at Tivity Health, the company that offers SilverSneakers, for his thoughts on this new collaboration.
First, can you explain the SilverSneakers program to any members who may still be unfamiliar with it?
SilverSneakers provides health and fitness benefits for adults ages 65 and older, including live online fitness classes, on-demand workouts and a network of more than 22,000 fitness locations. We are experts in senior health and fitness, with three decades of experience serving older adults and an unwavering commitment to innovating to meet the needs of elders today and in the future.
SilverSneakers supports activities beyond the gym, including social connection, mental enrichment, virtual and in-person health education workshops and community classes at local parks, community centers and senior centers.
SilverSneakers is offered through 70 Medicare Advantage plans nationwide at no additional cost to the member.
Can you tell us about the collaboration between Apple Fitness+ and Silver Sneakers?
Apple Fitness+ is an award-winning fitness and wellness service with studio-style workouts and meditations designed to be welcoming to all, wherever someone may be in their fitness journey, and to help users live a healthier life by being more active. It includes thousands of workouts and meditations that subscribers can access anytime and anywhere, from their iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or streamed with Airplay with a compatible third-party TV or device.
SilverSneakers members in participating health plans can activate a subscription using their iPhone at no additional cost, as part of their SilverSneakers benefit made available through their Medicare Advantage plan. SilverSneakers is the only older adult fitness program that will offer Apple Fitness+ starting in January 2023.
This collaboration brings together two trusted brand leaders known for innovation and excellence in their product categories, creating a powerful opportunity to engage the older population in more physical activity. Apple Fitness+ will give our members more ways to move, with an option that will fit their busy lifestyles, and accommodate all fitness levels, interests and health goals, with a broad range of programming and activities for this population.
At the same time, Apple Fitness+ announced that it is expanding access to Fitness+ so that anyone with an iPhone can subscribe and enjoy, even if they don’t have an Apple Watch. The number of older consumers who own smartphones continues to increase as older adults moved online for many activities, including fitness, during the pandemic. In many ways, it's the perfect fit and timing.
What is the motivation behind bringing Apple Fitness+ to SilverSneakers members?
Tivity Health is committed to expanding its digital platform to enable SilverSneakers members to engage in physical activity when they want, how they want and where they want. Apple Fitness+ creates more options for our members and aligns two industry-leading brands with a unique, world-class fitness experience.
Tivity Health is committed to expanding its digital platform to enable SilverSneakers members to engage in physical activity when, how, and where they want.
Fitness+ is committed to inclusivity and shares our commitment to engaging older adults in healthy activities. By offering Apple Fitness+, SilverSneakers is further expanding the ways members can engage in physical activity, complementing our existing in-person and virtual opportunities. The workouts and meditations are led by a diverse and inclusive team of trainers, curated for a range of abilities, skill levels, ages and interests.
What will this offering mean to health plan members? What sorts of programming will be available, and through what types of devices?
An Apple Fitness+ subscription includes unlimited access to a wide variety of workouts and meditations for all skill levels, interests and goals. There are 11 different workout types including Dance, Yoga, Pilates, Strength and more, all led by an inclusive and welcoming group of trainers. Trainers also appear in one another’s workouts to demonstrate modifications for a world-class fitness experience. Many Fitness+ workouts require either no equipment or just a set of dumbbells. Participating members will also receive tailored workout recommendations from SilverSneakers.
Eligible members can use Fitness+ for their daily workout routine, or as a supplement to their regular training. Fitness+ includes workout programs with custom content designed to support users through a specific situation in life or to prepare for important moments like Workouts for Beginners or Workouts for Older Adults; Collections to help reach a goal; the audio walking experience Time to Walk with celebrity guests, and more. SilverSneakers members in participating health plans will activate their membership through their SilverSneakers.com or SilverSneakers GO account, where they will be directed to download the app through their iPhones.
Starting in January, SilverSneakers members in participating health plans can use Apple Fitness+ any time of day, inside or outside of the home. Fitness+ users with an Apple Watch can continue to take their motivation to the next level with personalized real-time metrics that display on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
How do you predict this offering might help your health plan members?
With Apple Fitness+, SilverSneakers members in participating health plans will have access to an even more convenient, inclusive and connected fitness experience that will enable them to move how and when they want, all at no additional cost. With access to the full library of Fitness+ content, members will be able to enjoy workouts and meditations, along with video and audio-guided meditations to support cognitive health and stress relief.
Users can also access Time to Walk, an audio walking experience featuring some of the world’s most interesting and influential people such as Billie Jean King, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Jane Goodall, Robin Roberts, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Sugar Ray Leonard, and Time to Run, an audio running experience featuring popular running routes around the world. Every Fitness+ studio workout includes modifications to accommodate all fitness levels, along with options for closed captioning and subtitles in six languages.
Silver Sneakers will be offered to Aetna Medicare Advantage members. Can you please explain the connection between Tivity Health and Aetna?
We have been proud to offer SilverSneakers through Aetna since 2006, and we’re honored that they will be the first health plan to offer Apple Fitness+ to SilverSneakers members. Aetna and Tivity Health have a shared passion for encouraging older adults to keep their bodies and minds active for improved overall well-being, and Apple Fitness+ is another way to support older adult health. When Aetna members log into their account at SilverSneakers.com or SilverSneakers GO app starting Jan. 1, they will see an option to activate their Apple Fitness+ membership.