If the only thing stopping you from joining a gym is expensive memberships, then you’re in luck. What if I told you that there is a loophole to circumvent the price? If you have health insurance, this can be the key to getting free health insurance or greatly reduced gym membership. If you’re looking for health insurance and want the benefits of an affordable gym membership, there are some important details you need to consider.

With more and more people looking to improve your health by staying active, many health insurance companies understand and give people what they want. It is also useful to know that there are ways to reduce costs in certain areas of your monthly spending budget. As we all know, every penny counts as we dodge the effects of soaring inflation across the country.

So if you’re looking for ways to get a great deal on a gym membership, check out our expert-approved tips.

Check your benefits

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Whether you have health insurance or are looking for the right package, be sure to read the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (also known as SBC). Michael Orefice, senior vice president of operations at SmartFinancial, told CNET that the SBC outlines the costs and coverage of each health plan. “If certain personal care benefits are not specifically listed as covered or excluded benefits, ask your provider for more information,” he suggests.

You’d be surprised at the wide range of additional benefits your insurance can offer. These could include massage therapy and acupuncture as well as other services. The only thing you may be limited to is seeking treatment within your network, and there may be a cap on the number of treatments you receive per year.

In the case of gym memberships, Orefice said your health insurance likely won’t foot the entire bill, but your health plan may qualify for discounted rates for gym memberships, fitness equipment and even online classes. “Be sure to review your current health insurance plan to see what benefits are available to you, but if you are unhappy with these benefits, be sure to choose a policy that better suits your needs,” a- he advised.

Also, don’t automatically assume that your insurance won’t cover the cost of a specific benefit. Making the effort to sift through various insurance plans can make a difference in helping you get closer to your health goals. Orefice recommends researching each plan’s coverage thoroughly, as there may be unique benefits that you automatically assume are out-of-pocket expenses. “Saving a little time and effort can improve your overall quality of life,” he says.

Use your flexible spending account

Wooden blocks with the letters FSA.

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When you get your health insurance through an employer, you usually have a flexible spending account option. An FSA is a tax-free account where you set aside a certain amount of money to help pay for health-related expenses. Usually, an FSA can help pay for prescribed medications, certain medical procedures, co-payments, certain pharmacy items, and yes, even your gym membership. However, there is a catch. “If a certain benefit is not specifically listed, the expense may still be reimbursed if medically necessary,” Orefice explained.

To have the expense approved, your doctor will need to sign a letter of medical necessity explaining why the treatment is necessary. It is important to share a copy of this letter with your FSA provider or your application will be denied when you submit it. In the case of a gym membership, having a doctor’s note explaining that you need physical activity for a specific medical reason will increase the chances that your health plan will reimburse you for the cost of the exercise. ‘subscription.

Look for gyms affiliated with your health insurance

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Often your health insurance provider will have ties to certain gym franchises. “Insurance companies have a strong incentive to help pay for your gym membership,” said Anthony Martin, founder and CEO of Choice Mutual. Indeed, it costs less to help you stay healthy now than to pay for treatment if you feel bad later. As a result, more and more insurance companies are increasingly including some form of fitness membership coverage.

“Some vendors have partnered with various gyms and fitness centers to offer discounted rates to customers,” Martin said. Keep in mind that these perks are usually limited to a certain number of studios and vary depending on your location and plan type.

If you are a senior, you should review your Medicare Advantage plans and some Medicare supplemental insurance plans. “Many now include memberships in SilverSneakers or other similar programs as an added benefit for recipients,” said Christian Worstell, senior writer at Healthadvisor.com and health insurance agent. He continued, “SilverSneakers includes a basic gym membership as well as a health and fitness program specifically designed for seniors that includes various workouts, activities and education.” The plus side is that it’s usually free if included in your health insurance plan.

Check a refund option

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If your insurer is not affiliated with a chain of gyms or if you cannot use your FSA, you can also check whether or not your insurer can reimburse you for part of the costs. I used to have a health insurance plan that paid half of my monthly gym membership fees and even though it wasn’t fully covered, it still helped financially.

“Many health insurance providers offer full or partial gym membership fee reimbursement, although there are usually a few requirements that must be met,” Martin said. In some cases, providers may require a log of your gym visits that shows you’re using the membership before refunding you a portion of your gym fees. Others may have a waiting period of a few months before being eligible for reimbursement.

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At the end of the line

Looking at health insurance documents can be daunting because it looks like you’re reading a lot of jargon. But diving deep into your plan or options can open your eyes to what services you might be entitled to for free or at a reduced rate. If a gym membership is a priority, it’s helpful to know that your health insurance can help cover those expenses.

If you’re still unsure after looking at the fine print, don’t be afraid to contact your insurance company and ask. The last thing you want to do is miss out on these opportunities that can save you a lot of money on a monthly and yearly basis.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.