Isn’t that the question that’s always asked at the end of a competition? With thirty years of experience in working with older adults, we not only know that members love our program and the physical activity and social connections it provides, but also that program participation generates meaningful outcomes.
To measure the impact of SilverSneakers, we worked with Avalere Health (an Inovalon company) to conduct a SilverSneakers Impact Study with the following objectives:
- Conduct a pre-/post-intervention analysis of SilverSneakers participants with Medicare Advantage (MA) claims data. Evaluate whether MA beneficiaries participating in SilverSneakers had lower utilization and/or costs or improved quality outcomes in the 6 months after joining the program compared to the 6-months prior to joining the program.
- Conduct a comparative analysis between the intervention group of SilverSneakers participants and a matched control group of non-participants enrolled in MA plans, using a 1:5 match ratio. Evaluate whether MA beneficiaries participating in the SilverSneakers program had lower utilization and/or costs over the 6-month observation period compared to MA beneficiaries not participating in the program, after controlling for differences in other patient characteristics.
Not only do these members cost less than non-members, but they also experienced fewer hospitalizations.
The final study cohort consisted of 8,555 SilverSneakers participants and 42,775 non-participants. The study found that SilverSneakers participants cost 16% less and $840 less per member per year compared to non-participants. Not only do these members cost less than non-members, but they also experienced fewer hospitalizations. When analyzing chronic conditions, members with three or more chronic conditions deliver savings of 25%. Additionally, these participants report that their chronic conditions have improved.
While lowered costs are great for the bottom line and good for business, what I’m most proud of is the work that SilverSneakers is doing to address loneliness and social isolation in seniors. Through our collaboration with the MIT AgeLab, we know that 20% of participants are experiencing less social isolation and 25% of participants are experiencing less loneliness.
SilverSneakers Impacts Physical, Emotional, and Social Health
Key findings from a 2021 SilverSneakers Participant Survey included:
- 88% “SilverSneakers has improved my quality of life”
- 67% “I discovered I can do more than I thought I could”
- 86% “I feel healthier”
- 52% “I have made new and valuable friendships”
These outcomes are powerful and reveal the value of empowering active aging through SilverSneakers.