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Medicare Advantage Plans expand eligibility for fitness

December 30, 2019

Accessing Bend Park and Recreation District fitness passes is getting easier in the New Year thanks to expanded partnerships with three nationwide programs that assist older adults in becoming or remaining physically active.

Beginning in January, residents over 65 enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans may have access to no-cost and/or low-cost fitness plans at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center and Bend Senior Center. Health plans have enabled community members to access Bend Senior Center for several years, but starting in 2020, the program expands to Juniper Swim & Fitness Center.

The supplemental health plans are provided by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare, often referred to as Medicare Advantage Plans or Medicare Part C. Programs include Silver & Fit, Silver Sneakers and AARP Renew Active.

“Physical activity has a number of benefits particularly relevant later in life, including reducing the risk of falls, improving balance and stamina, and delaying the onset of cognitive decline,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Qualifying Medicare recipients will be able to choose either a full-access pass to Bend Senior Center or a basic pass to Juniper Swim & Fitness Center. The Bend Senior Center pass provides access to more than 75 weekly fitness classes plus full facility use and participation in social activities. The Juniper basic pass includes use of pools, fitness center, fit studio, hot tub, sauna, steam room, locker rooms and participation in recreation and lap swim.

For an additional $15 per month, qualifying patrons can upgrade to a full-access pass for both Juniper and Bend Senior Center, which offers additional opportunities to participate in more than 250 weekly fitness classes and master swim sessions, as well as all classes at the Bend Senior Center.

“Physical activity can and does improve quality of life and enhancing community vitality is Bend Park and Recreation District’s mission,” said Sue Glenn, recreation services manager. “After seeing the positive impact on patrons at Bend Senior Center, our team began discussions with partners about expanding to Juniper, especially as our older adult population grows in Central Oregon.”

Projections indicate that by the year 2028, the total number of adults over 65 in Bend will nearly double to approximately 26,000.

For more information about health plans, benefits and eligibility, residents are encouraged to check with their health insurance carrier about qualification. Details about facilities and passes are here. Or stop by the customer service desk at Bend Senior Center or Juniper Swim & Fitness Center.

New Year’s Day and January class schedules are available here.