Crossman, AF
Health Behavior and Policy Review, 2018

Abstract

Objectives: The SilverSneakers Fitness program has been shown to decrease the healthcare costs of the members who participate. The purpose of this study is to determine if there are healthcare cost savings differences between the SilverSneakers participants who solely attend the SilverSneakers group classes and a matched control group of non-enrollees.

Methods: A variable optimal matching procedure was used to match SilverSneakers class participants to similar non-enrollees based on sex, age, health plan, risk score or chronic conditions, and baseline costs. Healthcare cost differences from year one (baseline) to year two (follow-up) were then compared between participants and the control group. 149 SilverSneakers participants and 149 matched controls were included in the study.

Results: Program participants who solely attend the SilverSneakers group classes had a significant one-year cost savings relative to their comparison group. Class attendees’ healthcare costs during the one-year follow-up period were less than one-quarter of the healthcare costs of their matched control group, averaging $2,144 in annual savings per participant.

Conclusions: SilverSneakers group exercise classes play a significant role in reducing healthcare costs among participants. These results underscore the need to offer age-appropriate fitness classes in order to get older adults more active using a safe and effective format.

Keywords: SilverSneakers, healthcare costs, group exercise classes, older adult fitness

Key Takeaways:

  • SilverSneakers group exercise classes can help control healthcare costs for older adults.
  • SilverSneakers class attendees had $2,144 lower average healthcare costs than matched non-enrollees after only a single year in the
    program.
  • Higher class participation was associated with greater savings. Each additional SilverSneakers group exercise class attended led to an additional $22 decrease in healthcare costs during their first year in the program.

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http://ingentaconnect.com/contentone/psp/hbpr/2018/00000005/00000001/art00004