NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Nearly 10,000 Tennessee seniors will no longer get free access to YMCAs in the state, forcing them to look for fitness elsewhere.
SilverSneakers confirmed that the Tennessee Alliance of YMCAs has cut ties with its program that offered free access to its fitness centers.
The change takes affect Jan. 1 and will cut off ties with 44 YMCA locations in the state, forcing seniors to pay for membership to seek other out other fitness alternatives.
“Our first concern is for our members, and we are working hard to ensure their smooth transition to one of our many other participating locations where they can continue having access to their favorite SilverSneakers programming without paying any additional monthly fees,” said Steve Janicak, President, Healthcare Business Unit, Tivity Health. “We have strong partnerships with more than 1,500 other YMCA locations around the country, so we’re truly disappointed that the Tennessee Ys have decided to stop offering SilverSneakers.”
The Tennessee Alliance of YMCA's issued the following statement:
“Like a number of YMCAs across the nation, Tennessee’s YMCAs have been struggling to find ways to make the SilverSneakers Fitness Program for seniors work with their individual membership pricing models. We have been negotiating for the past several months with the program’s for-profit provider, Franklin-based Tivity, for a more equitable reimbursement policy. While we had hoped we would be able to come to a satisfactory resolution, after Dec. 31, YMCAs in Tennessee will no longer participate in the SilverSneakers program. While we’ve had a longstanding relationship with the program, what Tivity proposed in our negotiations is not sustainable for us as a non-profit organization. Seniors remain a vital part of our membership, and we are certainly not walking away from them.
Tennessee Ys are committed to continuing to serve seniors in our community, and we intend to provide a variety of options to allow participants to continue to come to the Y once our agreement with SilverSneakers ends at the end of 2019.
We do believe some of the information released by Tivity is very misleading, and in some cases inaccurate. For instance, we know of at least four YMCAs across the country who have left the program. Unfortunately due to the strict communications restrictions in our current contract, we cannot refute all the inaccuracies at this time. We can, however, assure seniors that 2020 prices and options for continuing to belong to the YMCA will be in place before Open Enrollment begins Oct. 15, and we remain committed to the same level of service, classes and activity offerings all seniors currently enjoy.”
SilverSneakers said seniors can still participate in their program, free of charge, at 350 other fitness locations in the state. Seniors can click here to find fitness centers that participate in SilverSneakers, or call toll free at 888-338-0345.
Studies show that exercising is good for seniors in order to maintain health and well-being.