As cancer survivors strive to maintain healthy lifestyles, many are faced with financial hardships and sacrifices due to the high cost of cancer care. According to the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship’s State of Survivorship Survey: 2022, nearly half of respondents in the survey reported experiencing financial hardships and having to make employment and/or educational sacrifices because of their cancer care. Yet, cancer survivors continue to recognize their physical needs. According to the survey, the top physical concerns of survivors post-treatment are maintaining a healthy weight (61%), getting enough exercise (55%), having energy for the day (52%), and managing side effects (51%).
The struggle becomes clear: financial and physical wellbeing are often at odds for cancer survivors. Financial barriers can make it difficult to prioritize physical well-being over financial necessity, particularly when it comes to access to resources for recovery and self-care.
Fortunately, some health Insurance companies incorporate wellness programs into their health insurance products, which may provide additional benefits to policyholders. In fact, you may already have access to these benefits. Your health insurance may include discounts on wellness services, gym memberships, fitness app subscriptions and diabetes management, weight loss, and smoking cessation programs.
Cancer Advocacy and Policy Team Steering Committee Member Jamie Ledezma shared with us her excitement when she discovered these new benefits within her health insurance. She shares her story of navigating post survivorship care and finding One Pass™ fitness program offered by UnitedHealthcare.
Jamie’s StoryBefore cancer, Jamie was an active runner. Running helped her maintain her physical and mental health. Over time, she transitioned to exercising at fitness studios. However, these studios came with a substantial membership fee and stringent cancellation guidelines. As a result, she was only able to join one studio at a time.
Knowing she was paying for an expensive monthly membership but remembering her marching orders from her oncologist to continue being active, Jamie would attend the fitness studio to take advantage of the classes about 4 or 5 times a week. The challenge is that these studios often target one area of practice (e.g. pilates, yoga, or weight training). Jamie grew bored between not being able to supplement her routines with workouts that focused on different parts of the body and having to take the same classes over and over again. At the 18-month mark, she switched to a new studio, which also meant recommitting to a new program and a new financial commitment.
During the pandemic, Jamie managed her fitness at home with a few light weights, a treadmill, and an online app. As the world began to open up, she longed for a challenging fitness regimen and the exhilarating atmosphere of a fitness studio. She found the cost of memberships and lack of diverse fitness options within her local fitness studios to be discouraging.
Last fall, during open health insurance enrollment season, Jamie attended a webinar hosted by her employer, explaining the differences in coverage and benefits between the plan options. She realized that the suite of benefits offered to members is far more robust than she had ever considered – offering access to patient advocates, help finding available childcare providers, free cooking classes, tools to help build financial management skills, and event planning assistance. However, what caught her interest was a fitness program offering access to hundreds of fitness studios.
Jamie discovered the UnitedHealthcare One Pass™ fitness program. One Pass gives you access to hundreds of fitness classes and studios with the convenience of a single program. The diversity of class and studio offerings is just what she was looking for to support her unique physical, mental, and social health needs as a cancer survivor.
Depending on your plan, One Pass is a single program that offers access to a large network of fitness locations nationwide, from leading national brands to boutique studios. Members enjoy the flexibility to use any location within the tier to create a fitness program unique to their needs and interests.
Jamie started with the $25 per month membership that gave her access to 3 studio days a week, and she planned to run the other 3 days a week. She was nervous about entering the fitness studio again after three years, but after just a few weeks using the membership, she found herself enjoying being back in in fitness studios again. Eventually, she upgraded to the Premium Tier at $99 per month. Jamie points out that the membership fits her life well as a cancer survivor because there is no contract so she can cancel at any time. She doesn’t have to worry about paying for a service if her health suddenly changes.
Jamie has joined eight studios and takes approximately four classes at each studio monthly.
All of these studios are within five miles of her house. She explains, “Honestly, I feel like I’ve won the lottery with the way I have been using the One Pass program!”
Find Out What Your Health Insurance Plan Offers
Eligibility for wellness programs depends on your health insurance plan. Exploring your insurance company’s website or giving them a call may be helpful in discovering what’s included in your benefits. Don’t forget that you can reach out to your employer to advocate for health insurance options that have wellness programs. NCCS hopes that these options will continue to expand so that more cancer survivors have access to services that improve their health and quality of life.