How to Get a Free Gym Membership

If the one thing holding you back from joining the gym is expensive memberships, then you’re in luck. What if I told you that there is a way to save money? If you have health insurance, it may be the key to getting free or more minimum gym membership. If you’re shopping for health insurance and want to get access to a health club membership, there are a few things to consider.

More and more people are watching improve their health by staying active, many health insurance companies are working and giving people what they want. It also helps to know that there are ways to save money in some of your areas monthly operating budget. As we all know, every penny counts when we avoid the problems of inflation across the country.

So if you’re looking for ways to make the most of your gym membership, check out our expert advice.

Review your benefits

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Whether you have health insurance or are shopping for the right package, be sure to read the summary of benefits and coverage (also known as the SBC). Michael Orefice, senior vice president of operations at SmartFinancial, told CNET the SBC explains the cost of each health plan and coverage. “If certain self-care products aren’t listed as benefits or are not included, ask your health care provider for more information,” she says.

You may be surprised at the many benefits that your insurance can provide. This may include massage therapy and acupuncture among other services. The only option you have is to seek help within your network, and there may be a cap on the number of treatments you receive per year.

When it comes to gym memberships, Orefice said your health insurance may not cover the full cost, but your health plan may qualify you for reduced rates on gym memberships, exercise equipment and online classes. “Make sure you review your health insurance plan to see what you can get, but if you are not satisfied with these benefits, make sure you buy a plan that fits your needs,” he advised.

Additionally, don’t just assume that your insurance won’t cover the cost of a certain benefit. Making the effort to analyze different insurance plans can make all the difference in helping you get closer to achieving your health goals. Orefice recommends that you carefully check the presentation of each plan because there may be a special benefit that you thought would be foreign currency. “The benefits of a little time and effort can make your whole life better,” he says.

Use your current account

Wooden poles with the letters FSA.

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When you get health insurance through your employer, you usually have a Flexible Spending Account perhaps. An FSA is a tax-free account where you put some money to pay for any health-related expenses. In many cases, an FSA can help you pay for prescription drugs, other medical procedures, co-pays, other medical supplies and, yes, even your gym membership. However, there is a catch. “If a certain benefit is not specifically mentioned, the money can still be reimbursed if it is necessary for the hospital,” said Orefice.

For the money to be approved you will need a doctor to sign a a letter of medical necessity explaining why the treatment is needed. It is important to share a copy of this letter with your FSA agent, otherwise your claim will be rejected when you submit it. In the case of a gym membership, having a doctor’s note explaining that you need to exercise for a specific medical reason will increase the chances of your health plan reimbursing you for the cost of the membership.

Look for a gym that has health insurance

An empty gym with equipment.

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Often, the health insurance provider has connections with other gym franchises. “Insurance companies have a huge incentive to help you become a member of a gym,” said Anthony Martin, founder and CEO of Choice Mutual. This is because it costs less to get healthy now than to pay for treatment if you don’t recover. As a result, many insurance companies are increasingly including some form of fitness membership.

“Some providers have partnered with different gyms and fitness centers to offer lower prices to customers,” Martin said. Keep in mind that these benefits often have multiple studios selected, and vary depending on your location and plan type.

If you are an adult, you should check your Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance plans. “Many now include membership in SilverSneakers or other similar programs as an additional benefit,” said Christian Worstell, the group’s senior author. healthadvisor.com and an insurance agent. He went on to say, “SilverSneakers includes a basic gym membership along with a health and fitness program designed for older adults that includes exercise, activities and a variety of training.” The plus side is that it is usually free if it is included in your Medicare plan.

Look for a way to get back

The money has fallen into the piggy bank.

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If your insurance provider doesn’t have an agreement with the gym or you can’t use your FSA, you can also check to see if your provider can reimburse you for other expenses. I had a health insurance plan that paid half of my monthly gym membership fee and even though it didn’t pay in full, it still helped me financially.

“Many health insurance providers cover all or part of the cost of a gym membership, although there are often minimum requirements that must be met,” Martin said. In some cases, service providers may require a log of your gym visits showing that you are using the membership before they will reimburse you for a portion of your gym expenses. Some may have a waiting period of several months to qualify for a refund.


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Bottom line

Looking through health insurance documents can seem overwhelming because it seems like you’re reading a bunch of jargon. But delving deeper into your plan or options can open your eyes to services you may have for free or at a reduced cost. If a gym membership is important to you, it’s helpful to know that there are ways your health insurance can help with the cost.

If you’re still unsure after reading the printed information carefully, don’t be afraid to reach out to your insurance company and ask. The last thing you want to do is miss out on this opportunity that could save you a lot of money monthly and annually.

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about any medical condition or health goal.