The Life Time Fitness club limits access to seniors on Medicare

Life Time Fitness clubs have announced that they will begin limiting access to seniors 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 for through the Silver Sneakers Program.

“Basically, there is no payment to me,” he said. “There is a fee I pay for my wife every month, but mine is free, and you can come anytime you want, seven days a week.”

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Paul and other regular Medicare members received e-mails telling them that starting January 1, their access to the gym will be limited.

“Saturday, for example, I can’t go until 2 pm,” he said.

On Sundays, regular Medicare members can go to all open hours.

But Monday to Friday, they can only go between 9:30 am and 3 pm

Alba said she goes to classes at 8:30 in the morning

“Normally, we can go together in one car,” she said. “But now he can’t be with me, because he can’t get in until 9:30.”

Medicare members who want to get full access to the gym must pay $100 a month.

Easier said than done for many seniors.

“We don’t like it,” Paul said. “There are 50, 60, 70 old timers who have signed a petition asking Lifetime to change their opinion on this.”

“I feel like it’s a form of discrimination for the elderly,” Alba said.

After calling and visiting Lifetime Fitness, we were told our number was with the general manager. We haven’t heard back yet.

Lifetime released the following statement following the restrictions:
The change, which takes place on January 1, 2024, is driven in part by the rate Medicare Fitness Program Administrators pay on behalf of enrollees (which is a fraction of our regular membership fees and a free product for to nearly all eligible Medicare members), included in our desire to ensure a fair and equitable offer relative to what those under 65 pay for Life Time access membership. Ultimately, as opposed to not renewing contracts and not providing additional membership options for Medicare enrollees, we aim to create a solution that can continue to serve a large and rapidly growing population of Medicare and do so with an ongoing, significant price advantage. We recognize that there is no perfect solution for everyone, but we believe we have arrived at an offer that still provides strong value with unlimited visits, with options – including basic membership with modified hours ($0 for at most) and a Signature upgrade option that provides unlimited access to club hours and other benefits. (To note, some other Medicare fitness participants limit the number of visits per month and we want our members to have access seven days a week.

A Lifetime official explained why the policy was implemented. Life outlined several factors that contributed to the decision to restrict seniors’ access to gyms and health clubs under Medicare:

  • The changes stem from recent negotiations with the Medicare Fitness Program Administrators, who have informed us of the rate they will pay on behalf of their members at each renewal.
  • In addition, we made an agreement that ensures that eligible Medicare enrollees will continue to have access to Life Time because of our continued commitment to healthy aging.
  • Because the rate Medicare providers pay is significantly discounted, this membership also respects a fair and equitable approach and value provided relative to other members paying for full-rate membership, while the these members continue to receive Life Time access on a subsidized basis.
  • The alternative is no contract renewal, or continued access to Life Time. Because Life Time remains committed to healthy aging, the revised access hours were established to ensure that participants in eligible Medicare programs will continue to have the option to join Life Time and participate in our growing ARORA program offerings.
  • We believe this membership continues to present products, services and access that meet the majority of Medicare enrollees’ interests and expectations. Times are chosen with the best interests of all members in mind.
  • A Signature upgrade option is available for members seeking unlimited access to the club, at less than the full rate other members pay. In addition to other centers that limit Medicare members to 2-4 visits worth, we offer unlimited visits per month.
  • So, members 65 and older have more optionsfor membership than others. All memberships include unlimited visits per month. The 4 Options are:
  • Medicare Free: There are restricted hours
  • Upgrade to Medicare Signature: (80.00 150.00 per month, depending on the club) Unlimited hours and includes Beach Club Access and Signature Classes
  • Full Price Membership: For those not in the Medicare Plan accepted by Life Time. (99.00 299.00 per month, depending on the club)
  • 65 and Older MembershipFor those not on a Medicare Plan accepted by Life Time (89.00 269.00 per month depending on the club)

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