No, health insurance generally does not cover gym membership fees directly. However, some insurance plans may offer reimbursement for fitness costs or discounts on gym memberships.
Health insurance is primarily designed to cover medical costs like doctor visits, procedures, and prescription medications. Gym memberships are usually considered general health expenses rather than medical care. As a result, the majority of health insurance plans do not cover the cost of a gym membership directly.
However, some health insurance companies offer incentives or reimbursement options that can offset the cost of a gym membership. The key factors that determine if an insurance plan can contribute to gym fees include double-checking your specific benefits, using flex spending accounts, choosing gyms affiliated with your insurer, and reimbursement programs.
Factors That Can Affect Gym Membership Coverage
There are a few different ways that health insurance plans may be able to contribute to gym membership costs indirectly. Checking your specific benefits carefully is crucial to understanding if any of these options apply to your health plan.
Double-checking your Benefits
The first step is thoroughly reading through your health insurance policy documents to identify any wellness benefits, reimbursement offers, or discounted gym access. Many insurers bury these programs deep in the plan details. Don’t assume your insurer doesn’t cover fitness costs at all without investigating.
Your benefits may include a stipend to put towards a gym membership each month or year. There may also be options to earn rewards for meeting certain exercise goals that can be used to offset membership fees. Read the fine print closely to identify if your plan provides any help with fitness expenses.
Using Flex Spending Accounts
If your employer offers a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), you may be able to use pre-tax dollars from these plans towards a gym membership.
FSAs allow you to set aside a certain amount of your paycheck pre-tax to cover eligible health care costs, while HSAs are paired with high deductible health plans and can also be funded pre-tax. As long as your FSA or HSA provider allows it, you can use these funds to help cover gym membership fees.
Gyms Affiliated with your Health Insurance
Some health insurance companies partner with certain gym chains or networks to offer policyholders discounted memberships or other savings. For example, many plans include deals like $25 a month memberships at participating gyms or waived enrollment fees.
Checking if your insurance has any preferred gym partners is an easy way to potentially save on membership costs. Discounts are typically limited to gyms in your insurer’s network though.
While rare, certain insurance plans may reimburse all or part of gym membership fees. This is more common with employer-provided health policies that offer robust wellness benefits. The reimbursement is usually limited to basic gym access though, not premium amenities or classes.
To take advantage of reimbursement, you’ll need to submit paperwork proving you held a gym membership and worked out consistently. You’ll also need to provide receipts showing payment. The insurer will repay you up to the allowed amount after verifying eligibility.
Insurance Companies That Cover Gym Memberships
Though no health insurance covers gym memberships outright, some popular providers offer incentives or discounts that can lower the cost. Here are several to investigate further:
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) partners with thousands of gyms nationwide to offer policyholders discounted rates. The Blue365 program also includes reimbursements of up to $20 per month for fitness club dues.
Aetna Vital Savings offers gym discounts at thousands of participating locations. Members can save on enrollment fees, monthly dues, personal training, and more. Discounts range from 10-50% off standard costs.
AmeriHealth Advantage members can choose from 9,000+ gyms and over 30 digital fitness apps as part of the insurer’s fitness benefit. After paying a one-time fee, members have access to discounted gym rates and other savings.
Cigna works with over 9,000 gyms through their Healthy Rewards program. This provides discounted membership fees to policyholders when they present their insurance ID card. Savings are typically 10-40% off normal prices.
How to Claim Gym Membership Fees?
If your health insurance does offer some type of fitness benefit, there are a few potential ways you can take advantage and claim gym membership costs.
Full Reimbursement or Stipend
Some plans reimburse all or a fixed portion of gym dues if you meet their requirements. This usually involves submitting paperwork and proof of payment regularly. You’ll receive repayment up to the allowed limit.
Exclusive Member Discounts
Rather than repayment, many insurers partner with gyms to provide policyholders special savings like reduced enrollment fees or monthly rates. You’ll need to show your insurance ID card to claim the discounts.
Wellness incentive programs reward policyholders’ fitness achievements like regular gym visits with points or credits. These can be redeemed towards gift cards, health services, or to offset the cost of a gym membership.
In summary, while gym memberships are rarely covered directly, digging into the details of your health benefits could uncover options to reduce membership costs. Checking for gym networks, reimbursements, and wellness incentives is key.