Blue Shield of California to Offer Award-Winning Fitness Program to Medicare Beneficiaries in San Bernardino

Jan 20, 2010, 09:25 ET from Blue Shield of California

Healthways SilverSneakers(R) Fitness Program promotes fitness, fun and friends!

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Shield of California announced today that it will expand its contract with Healthways, Inc. to offer the SilverSneakers® Fitness Program to Blue Shield Medicare Advantage members in San Bernardino County. SilverSneakers, which Blue Shield already offers in Los Angeles and Orange counties, is the nation's leading exercise program for older adults. Blue Shield members in San Bernardino can join the program at no additional cost as of January 1.

"As a company committed to improving the health of our members, Blue Shield is proud to expand the incredibly popular SilverSneakers Fitness Program and continue to offer it at no additional cost," said Marc Russo, vice president of Senior Markets at Blue Shield of California. "SilverSneakers makes it easier for our Medicare Advantage members to take greater control of their health and maintain an active, independent lifestyle."

The SilverSneakers Fitness Program, designed exclusively for older adults and taught by certified instructors, offers an innovative blend of physical activity, healthy lifestyle direction and social opportunities to Medicare-eligible individuals. Studies have found that older adults who participate in SilverSneakers have a significantly lower risk of depression and require fewer admissions to the hospital.

Using the SilverSneakers premier network, Blue Shield of California members get access to a variety of participating fitness and wellness facilities throughout the country, including such popular locations as Curves® and Bally Total Fitness®. Many sites offer amenities such as exercise equipment, treadmills and free weights, and the signature SilverSneakers fitness classes. Additional signature classes, such as YogaStretch and SilverSplash® may be available at select locations. Designated SilverSneakers staff members are available to guide members along the way.

"We're happy that Blue Shield of California is making SilverSneakers available to its members in an effort to help them achieve their personal best health," said Rene Ellington, Healthways' leader for SilverSneakers client management. "We believe that everyone, regardless of age, is capable of achieving this goal, and SilverSneakers is a proven support system to help make it a reality." Ellington adds, "We're honored to expand our work with Blue Shield of California to include San Bernardino, and we look forward to equipping more Blue Shield members with this life-changing tool that is destined to help them find fitness, fun and friends."

Eligible members will only need to show their Blue Shield identification card and complete a short form at a participating location to activate their membership in SilverSneakers. For a list of participating locations, please call Healthways at 888-423-4632 or visit To inquire about becoming a Blue Shield Medicare Advantage member, please call 800-488-8000, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. PST seven days a week.

About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan dedicated to providing Californians with access to high quality care at a reasonable price. Founded in 1939, it now has 3.4 million members, 4,800 employees, one of the largest provider networks and more than 20 office locations, providing a wide range of commercial and government products throughout the state. The company has contributed $100 million over the past three years to the Blue Shield of California Foundation to fund nonprofit organizations that improve access to quality health care in California. Contact your local agent or broker for more information about Blue Shield products and services, or visit the Blue Shield web site at

Blue Shield and the Shield symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

About the Healthways SilverSneakers® Fitness Program

The SilverSneakers® Fitness Program is offered by Healthways, Inc., an industry leader providing specialized, comprehensive Health and Care Support(SM) solutions to help people maintain or improve their health. SilverSneakers was founded in 1992 and is the nation's leading exercise program designed exclusively for older adults, offering an innovative blend of physical activity, healthy lifestyle and socially-oriented programming proven to reduce the health care costs of participants. The unique program is offered at more than 9,400 participating fitness and wellness centers, YMCAs, and Curves® locations in all 50 states and may be available at no additional cost (other than any medical plan premium) to eligible Medicare and group retiree health plan members.  For more information on SilverSneakers, call 888-423-4632 or visit

Media Contacts:

Johnny Wong, Blue Shield of California


Tricia Grayson, Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program


SOURCE Blue Shield of California