Blue Shield 65 Plus Members Get Physical, Get Healthy with New Free Fitness Benefit

(Woodland Hills, CA -- January 25, 2001) Supported by studies that regular exercise can slow down the symptoms associated with aging, improve general well-being and enhance independence, Blue Shield 65 Plus has partnered with the nationally-recognized SilverSneakers program to offer a fitness facility benefit at no additional cost to members.

"We believe your health plan should do more than just help you when you're sick, it should help you stay healthy. The Silver Sneakers program supports that philosophy," said Lisa Rubino, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive of Blue Shield's Medicare and Government Business Unit. "Now, in addition to a core set of benefits that are substantially better than fee-for-service Medicare, Blue Shield members have access to a terrific program that promotes a healthy lifestyle."

Exercise can make a positive difference in a lot of senior-related conditions. For example, aerobic exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers high blood pressure while weight training strengthens bones, which help slow down osteoporosis.

"If there were one pill we could distribute to everyone in the world that pill would be labeled exercise," said Mary Swanson, President and Chief Executive Officer of HealthCare Dimensions. "Not only is exercise imperative to improved physical functioning, but the benefits on mental functioning correlate to a higher quality of life and that is the mission of the SilverSneakers Fitness Program."

While other health plans have programs to encourage members to use health clubs, the Blue Shield/Silver Sneakers program is special because the health club services are free. Designed exclusively for seniors, Blue Shield 65 Plus fitness benefit includes:

  • access to a network of 34 participating fitness facilities throughout Southern California
  • SilverSneakers strengthening and conditioning classes focusing on muscular strength, flexibility and coordination
  • Use of facility amenities: pool, sauna, weight room, other senior programs
  • helpful guidance from qualified SilverSneakers fitness instructors
  • Health Education programs
  • Social programming

For additional information about the SilverSneakers program, call (877) 277-6565.


Background on Blue Shield of California

The SilverSneakers Fitness Program, designed and managed by HealthCare Dimensions Incorporated of Tempe, Arizona, is a comprehensive fitness program addressing the main areas of disease and disability in the senior population. Healthcare Dimensions (www.silversneakers.com) specifically contracts with health plans to offer the program to the plans' Medicare-eligible members. The program is currently offered to more than 400,000 Medicare-eligible members through partnerships with twelve health plans throughout the United States.

Blue Shield 65 Plus is a Medicare-contracted HMO serving more than 90,000 seniors throughout California. 65 Plus is a division of Blue Shield of California, (www.blueshieldca.com), an independent member of the Blue Shield Association, is California's second largest not-for-profit health plan. Headquartered in San Francisco, its health maintenance organization and preferred provider organization have a combined membership of 2.2 million members and annual revenue of $4 billion.