UPMC Health Plan offers so much more than medical insurance to seniors

Anyone who has lived in or around Pittsburgh for any length of time is familiar with UPMC, which is known far beyond our region as a world-class healthcare provider. Yet did you know that the UPMC Health Plan offers much more than simply medical insurance to its members who are ages 65 and older?

The Medicare product of UPMC Health Plan is called UPMC for Life. Members of this plan receive not only medical coverage but also an array of “value added” services that complement that medical care.

“Aging should be a positive experience, not a dreaded destination,” comments Community Relations Manager Shirley Fisher. “These value-added services target the complete person to help you thrive as you age, not just survive. It may be caregiving assistance, financial and legal resources, emotional support, evidence-based educational programs, exclusive community events or wellness initiatives. It’s a total customer experience.”

Here is a quick explanation of some of the additional services that older adults can enjoy as UPMC for Life members.

National Senior Health & Fitness Day: UPMC for Life has been the state sponsor for National Senior Health & Fitness Day for the past 11 years. In May, UPMC for Life hosted the 24th annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. All seniors in attendance received free admission and Zoo visitors were offered free preventive health services, including blood pressure readings and bone density testing. Health coaches and pharmacists were on hand to answer questions about prescription drugs and healthy lifestyle choices. Entertainment included Zumba, fun “backyard” games like beanbag toss, belly dancing demonstrations and karaoke by DJ Michael Moats of Top of the Line Entertainment. This was the 10th consecutive year that UPMC for Life (the Medicare Advantage plan of UPMC Health Plan) served as the Pennsylvania state sponsor for this event. UPMC for Life also hosted National Senior Health & Fitness Day events at Penn State in Altoona, the Wild Things Park in Washington County, the UPMC Horizon Wellness Center in Mercer and at First Energy Stadium in Reading.

Wellapalooza Health and Wellness Fair: This annual senior health fair (hosted in partnership with the UPMC Living-At-Home program) focuses on wellness, fun and healthy living for seniors and is open to all Medicare beneficiaries. This April, it was held at the Teamsters Temple in Lawrenceville. More than 25 vendors and exhibitors offered a wide array of services, information and preventive screenings, as well as entertainment, games and other fun activities.

UPMC for Life Zoo Walks: Every April through October, the Pittsburgh Zoo Walk is held at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Once monthly, in addition, the Zoo offers a special behind-the-scenes educational talk with one of the animal keepers. UPMC for Life members gain free admission into the Zoo.

Silver&Fit: This fitness plan by American Specialty Health is designed for older adults. UPMC for Life members can take advantage of this at no cost, either by enrolling at a fitness facility in the Silver&Fit national network of gyms or in the At Home program, with the ability to choose two home fitness kits each year to stay active.

Member Benefits Meetings: These meetings (held during the Medicare Annual Election Period each year) review the upcoming year’s insurance benefit offerings and answer any questions you might have. Current members can receive their annual flu shot at no cost. Additional member-only offerings at these meetings include preventive health screenings like BMI (height and weight), blood pressure, bone mass density, and testing for blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. About 30 meetings are held throughout the western Pennsylvania area.

Understanding Medicare Seminars: Come and learn about the basics of Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans.

State Legislator Senior Expos and other senior health fairs: UPMC for Life is typically on hand at these events throughout the year, providing literature on healthy lifestyles, recipes, fitness and more. 

Powerful Tools for Caregivers: This six-week educational series helps caregivers take care of themselves while caring for a spouse, parent, other relative or friend. Tools are offered to help reduce stress; communicate effectively with other family members, doctors, and paid help; reduce guilt, anger, and depression; help relax; make tough decisions; and set goals and problem-solve. About 15 class sessions are offered each year at UPMC Senior Communities, libraries, churches, local health centers and hospitals. 

UPMC Health Plan, headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC Health Plan partners with UPMC and community network providers to produce a combination of knowledge and expertise that provides the highest quality care at the most affordable price. Its local provider network includes UPMC as well as community providers, totaling more than 125 hospitals and more than 11,500 physicians throughout Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland. To learn more, visit upmchealthplan.com.

Article by Gina Mazza

Lead Photo: UPMC Health Plan offers fitness classes, health fairs, caregiver tools and more to its members. Photo by Alyssa Kramer.

Seniors enjoy a day at the Zoo. Photo by Alyssa Kramer.
Zoo Walks are a popular activity for local seniors. Photo by Alyssa Kramer.
Attendees have their caricatures drawn by “Designs by Foush” at the wellness fair. Photo by Alyssa Kramer.
Seniors enjoy free preventative health services at Wellapalooza. Photo by Alyssa Kramer.
Kendra White of UPMC for Life photographs the ‘80s-style fun at Wellapalooza. Photo by Alyssa Kramer.
Gwen and Asci Hunter. Photo by Ginni Klein.
Kristi Festa of UPMC for Life sings karaoke with Mike Moats of “Top of the Line Entertainment.” Photo by Ginni Klein.
National Senior Health and Fitness Day attendees. Photo by Ginni Klein.
UPMC Living-at-Home/Staying-at-Home Pirates fans don their colors. Photo by Ginni Klein.
Belly Dancing with Robin Martin from Hope Grows at Senior Fitness Day. Photo by Ginni Klein.