One of the questions I get from time to time during open enrollment is does health insurance cover gym membership? If you have a gym membership or are thinking about getting one, then an added bonus would be if the health insurance company would pay for it.
So, let’s talk about whether or not a gym membership is covered by your health insurance along with some other tidbits that might help you reduce the cost of your membership if you have one.
Does health insurance pay for gym memberships?
In general, health insurance companies will not pay for your gym membership directly. However, they often may give you a limited amount of money ($250 for example) towards the cost of it.
The answer is they will often pay a little towards the cost of your membership. Of course, a $250 yearly credit may not cover the cost of the local YMCA, that fancy tennis club or that kickboxing studio that you have your eyes on but every amount helps.
However, if you are a member of a club like Anytime Fitness, that $250 might come closer to covering the cost of the full year if you were one of the first members to join the club near you.
Every insurance company is different so what you’ll want do contact your insurance company and ask them if it’s a benefit in your plan.
I contacted my insurance company and it wasn’t a benefit. But I have had it in the past with other insurance companies.
There are a couple of other ways your insurance company or employer might provide a benefit that might go towards the cost of your gym membership.
Let’s talk about some of those.
Access to insurance company and employer gym membership discounts
Some insurance companies have arranged a discount for gym membership for its plan members.
Here’s a link to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employees program that provides a discount at more than 10,000 gyms nationwide. In this particular program, they’ve negotiated a $29 initiation fee and a $29 monthly membership which is pretty good.
I’ve seen others for about $25 per month.
You might also check with your gym or with your employer for other discounts. I know one gym gave a 10% discount for members of law enforcement.
While not exactly cash, reduced rates are like cash and certainly help.
Wellness benefits may include benefits you can use towards gym memberships
Some wellness programs provide credits towards gym memberships. I’ve seen some wellness programs provide up to $500.
In addition to the perks of a wellness program, if your employer provides a discount for taking biometric screenings, there’s another source of cash and we get $500 from my wife’s employer just for that.
If you are married and work for separate employers who do the same thing, then that could potential be up to $1,000 in a year.
As a side note, other wellness require you to touch base with the service on a regular basis. Some of the wellness based programs have phone coaching services that you might be able to use to help motivate you to work out.
That may be a good way to utilize that service to qualify for your benefit.
On site gym where you work or live
Many employers have a gym on site that is free for you to use. If you have one where you work, you might consider using it before you purchase a membership at a stand alone gym.
In addition to work, many neighborhoods where people live have a gym. If your neighborhood has one, you might already be paying for it through you homeowner’s association dues.
Working out at either of these before you join a gym might save you money.
Once you know you got a good habit of exercise formed, you’d know that spending money on actual membership will be worth it.
I say that because I once joined a gym I never used! Don’t be like me.
While insurance companies won’t necessarily pay for a gym membership, they may provide a small amount to you if you have a membership. They may also have a discount arranged if you want to take advantage of it.
You may also have a wellness program where you work that provides cash to you for meeting certain requirements.
Let me know in the comments if your insurance company pays anything towards your gym membership.