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Does Medicare Cover Gym Memberships?

Original Medicare does not generally cover gym memberships, but some Medicare Advantage Plans may offer gym memberships or fitness programs as an additional benefit. Read on to learn about the importance of staying active and how Medicare covers gym memberships and fitness programs. 

More Than One Way to Stay Fit 

While Original Medicare does not cover a gym membership, there are plenty of other ways for seniors to stay fit and active. Some popular options include walking, swimming, golfing, and pickleball. Senior centers often host group exercise classes like yoga or dance. Even activities like gardening or mowing the lawn can count as exercise.

Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways for older Americans to maintain or improve their health. Some of the many health benefits include reducing the risk of falls, preventing or managing chronic diseases, and making daily activities easier.

How Much Exercise Is Needed?

Consistency is key to whichever physical activities you choose. Older adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week, or 30 minutes of exercise 5 times each week. It’s also important to do activities that strengthen the muscles and improve balance at least twice a week.

While Medicare does not help pay for a gym membership, the good news is that the program does cover various wellness benefits to support beneficiaries working to improve their health.

Understanding Medicare’s Gym Membership Coverage 

Original Medicare does not pay for gym memberships because joining a gym is not medically necessary. There are many other ways for beneficiaries to get exercise and stay active.

Generally, Original Medicare (Parts A and B) covers a variety of medically necessary services and supplies. Part A covers hospital stays and skilled nursing care, while Part B benefits include doctor visits, preventive services, and durable medical equipment.

Neither part pays for gym memberships. However, the program does cover other wellness benefits when medically necessary and ordered by a doctor.

Wellness Benefits Covered by Medicare 

Here’s a look at some of the fitness and nutrition-related benefits covered by Medicare:

  • Physical therapyPhysical therapy uses stretches and exercises to treat injuries and improve or maintain your current function. A doctor must certify the therapy is medically necessary.
  • Occupational therapy: This type of therapy helps you relearn how to perform daily tasks, such as walking or getting dressed. Medicare covers occupational therapy if a doctor certifies it’s medically necessary.
  • Diabetes Prevention Program: This 12-month program teaches you tips for improving your diet, getting more exercise, and controlling your weight. It’s for people who have prediabetes and are overweight or obese.
  • Nutrition therapy: Nutrition therapy uses dietary counseling to help you adopt healthier eating habits. It’s covered for beneficiaries who have diabetes or kidney disease or who received a kidney transplant in the last 36 months.
  • Obesity behavioral therapy: Medicare covers counseling to help you lose weight through diet and exercise. It’s for beneficiaries with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation programs: Cardiac rehabilitation uses exercise and education to help beneficiaries recover from heart problems such as a heart attack, chronic heart failure, and some heart surgeries.

Does Medicare Advantage Cover Gym Memberships?

Medicare Advantage is an alternative to Original Medicare offered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage Plans must cover at least the same benefits as Original Medicare, and most plans include additional benefits to help members stay healthy.

Fitness benefits are among the most commonly offered extra benefits. In 2024, 98% of individual Medicare Advantage Plans offer some fitness coverage, such as gym memberships or specific fitness programs like SilverSneakers

Some Medicare Advantage Plans include additional wellness benefits that complement a gym membership or fitness program. For example, some plans offer a grocery allowance to help beneficiaries pay for healthy food or a preloaded debit card to spend on health-related items. Others offer reimbursements for eligible fitness-related expenses. Work with a trusted agent or broker to learn more about the Medicare Advantage options available in your area.

National Fitness and Gym Programs Partnering With Medicare Advantage

In Medicare Advantage Plans with fitness coverage, beneficiaries may receive access to a specific wellness program, such as SilverSneakers, Renew Active, or Silver&Fit. However, not all Medicare Advantage Plans offer gym memberships or fitness benefits. Below are some of the most common partnerships for Medicare Advantage Plans that do provide fitness benefits.


SilverSneakers is a well-known health and fitness program tailored to Americans 65 and older. It provides access to more than 15,000 participating fitness locations across the country, where seniors can exercise on their own or take part in SilverSneakers group exercise classes.

SilverSneakers offers live online classes and on-demand workout videos for seniors who prefer to work out at home. The videos accommodate people of varying fitness levels and physical abilities.

Renew Active

Renew Active is a Medicare fitness program available through some United Healthcare plans. It includes access to participating gyms and fitness centers. Renew Active also includes access to thousands of online workout videos through Fitbit Premium for people who prefer to exercise at home.

Unlike SilverSneakers, Renew Active incorporates brain health activities. Members receive access to cognitive assessments and interactive brain health challenges through AARP Staying Sharp.


Silver&Fit is a senior-focused health and wellness program available through select Medicare Advantage Plans. Beneficiaries receive a membership to a participating fitness center and can get support from a personal trainer or well-being coach through scheduled video sessions.

For seniors who prefer at-home workouts, the program also offers tailored exercise plans and a library of on-demand workout videos. With some plans, members have the option to claim a home fitness kit that includes items such as fitness trackers, yoga mats, or exercise bands.

Other Wellness Programs

Some Medicare Advantage Plans offer other senior wellness programs that work similarly to the three options listed above. For example, SeniorPHIT (Personal Health Improvement Training) is an online health and wellness program available through some Aetna plans.

Sometimes, plans cover other wellness programs through a yearly fitness allowance. Plan members pay for fitness or wellness programs up front, then submit receipts for reimbursement up to the plan limit.

All in All

Regular exercise is crucial for healthy aging, and for some people, staying active means going to the gym. Original Medicare does not help pay for a gym membership, though it does cover some medically necessary fitness-related services. Some Medicare Advantage Plans give members access to gym memberships, fitness programs, and other fitness benefits.

If you’re interested in getting coverage for gym memberships or fitness programs, talk to a trusted agent to learn about Medicare Advantage Plan options in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, Original Medicare does not cover fitness equipment, such as exercise bikes or treadmills. That’s because fitness equipment is not considered to be medical equipment, even though it may have medically related uses in some cases.

Medicare Advantage Plans may cover fitness equipment, though the coverage varies from plan to plan. For example, some Medicare Advantage Plans cover fitness trackers. Others provide a fitness allowance that reimburses members who purchase exercise equipment. If you’re interested in coverage for fitness equipment, work with a trusted agent to explore your options.

Original Medicare does not cover fitness apps for the same reason it does not cover fitness and exercise equipment: They are not considered medical in nature. However, some Medicare Advantage Plans cover fitness apps as a supplemental benefit.

For example, in Medicare Advantage Plans that cover SilverSneakers, plan members have access to the SilverSneakers GO app. Other plans offer a subscription to Fitbit Premium. Work with a trusted agent to find a Medicare Advantage Plan that covers fitness apps.

Additional Resources

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