Swimming pools offer numerous benefits for individuals, including Medicare beneficiaries. Beyond the refreshing and enjoyable aspect, pools can also provide therapeutic advantages. We’ll explore the potential of Medicare paying for a swimming pool and how pool activities can increase the quality of life for Medicare beneficiaries.

Will Medicare pay for a swimming pool?

Medicare, in general, doesn’t typically cover the expenses associated with swimming pools. However, there are instances where alternative coverage options may exist. It’s essential to understand the specific coverage details of your Medicare plan by contacting your insurance company or Medicare provider directly.

Benefits of swimming pools for Medicare beneficiaries

Swimming pools offer many benefits for Medicare beneficiaries, making them more than just a source of fun and relaxation. For individuals with limited mobility or joint pain, the buoyancy of water reduces impact and provides a low-impact environment for exercise. 

This makes swimming pools an ideal setting for aquatic therapy, which can improve flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health. Moreover, the warmth of the water in hydrotherapy can soothe arthritis pain and promote relaxation. Access to swimming pools allows Medicare beneficiaries to engage in water-based activities that support their overall well-being, physical rehabilitation, and chronic pain management.

Medicare-covered benefits involving water

Medicare provides coverage for specific water-based treatments and therapies that can benefit Medicare beneficiaries. One such coverage is aquatic therapy, which involves exercises and movements performed in a pool under the guidance of a trained therapist. 

Additionally, Medicare may cover hydrotherapy services, which utilize the therapeutic properties of warm water for pain relief and relaxation. Hydrotherapy may be covered when prescribed by a healthcare professional as a medically necessary treatment for specific conditions.

Does Medicare cover aquatic therapy?

Aquatic therapy can be a beneficial treatment option for Medicare beneficiaries, and Medicare Part B may provide coverage for this type of therapy. To be eligible for coverage, aquatic therapy must be deemed medically necessary and prescribed by a healthcare professional as part of a treatment plan. Medicare will typically cover the costs of the services provided during aquatic therapy sessions, including the therapist’s fees and necessary equipment. 

It’s important to note that coverage is subject to Medicare’s guidelines and requirements, and it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider and Medicare directly to determine the specific details of coverage for aquatic therapy in your situation. By accessing Medicare coverage for aquatic therapy, beneficiaries can receive the therapeutic benefits of water-based exercises and improve their overall physical well-being.

Benefits of aquatic therapy

  • Reduced Impact and Joint Stress: Water buoyancy reduces the impact on joints and provides support, making it an ideal environment for individuals with arthritis, joint pain, or mobility limitations. The reduced stress on joints allows for pain-free movement and increases the range of motion.
  • Increased Muscle Strength and Endurance: Water provides natural resistance to movement, requiring the engagement of muscles to navigate through the water. Aquatic therapy exercises can help strengthen muscles, improve endurance, and enhance overall physical fitness.
  • Improved Balance and Coordination: The water’s buoyancy challenges balance and coordination, allowing individuals to work on these areas in a safe and controlled manner. Aquatic therapy exercises can target specific muscle groups and sensory systems involved in balance and coordination.
  • Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness: Water-based exercises increase heart rate and provide cardiovascular benefits without the impact and strain of land-based activities. This can help improve cardiovascular health and overall fitness levels.
  • Pain Relief and Relaxation: The warm water temperature used in aquatic therapy can help alleviate pain, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation. The hydrostatic pressure of the water can also improve circulation, reduce swelling, and enhance the body’s natural healing processes.
  • Increased Range of Motion and Flexibility: The buoyancy of water allows for greater freedom of movement and can help individuals with limited range of motion or stiffness. Aquatic therapy exercises promote joint flexibility and help maintain or regain functional movement.
  • Mental and Emotional Well-being: Being in the water and participating in aquatic therapy can have positive psychological effects, promoting well-being, relaxation, and improved mood. The soothing nature of water can reduce stress and anxiety, contributing to overall mental wellness.

Is hydrotherapy covered by Medicare?

Medicare coverage for hydrotherapy, a therapeutic treatment that utilizes the warmth and buoyancy of water for pain relief and relaxation, is available under certain conditions. For Medicare beneficiaries, coverage for hydrotherapy falls under Medicare Part B. To be eligible for coverage, a healthcare professional must prescribe hydrotherapy as a medically necessary treatment for a specific condition. 

Medicare will typically cover the costs associated with the services provided during hydrotherapy sessions, including the therapist’s fees and necessary equipment. However, it’s important to note that coverage is subject to Medicare’s guidelines and requirements, and it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider and Medicare directly to determine the specific coverage details for hydrotherapy in your situation. Medicare’s coverage for hydrotherapy allows beneficiaries to access this beneficial treatment option for pain relief and relaxation, promoting their overall well-being.

Benefits of hydrotherapy

  • Pain Relief: The warm water used in hydrotherapy can help alleviate chronic pain, joint stiffness, and muscle soreness. The heat promotes blood flow and circulation, reducing inflammation and promoting healing.
  • Muscle Relaxation: Immersing in warm water helps relax tense muscles and release muscle tension. This can relieve individuals with muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, or other musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Improved Joint Mobility: The buoyancy of water reduces pressure on joints, allowing for easier movement and improved range of motion. Hydrotherapy exercises and gentle movements in the water can be particularly beneficial for individuals with arthritis or joint conditions.
  • Stress Reduction: The warm water and gentle massaging effects of hydrotherapy promote relaxation, reduce stress, and calm the nervous system. It can positively affect mental well-being, helping individuals unwind and improve overall mood.
  • Enhanced Circulation: Hydrotherapy stimulates blood flow and circulation throughout the body, which can contribute to improved cardiovascular health. It can also aid in removing toxins from the body, promoting detoxification.
  • Rehabilitation and Injury Recovery: Hydrotherapy can be an effective part of rehabilitation programs for recovering from injuries, surgeries, or strokes. The water’s buoyancy and reduced weight-bearing allow gentle movement and exercises to rebuild strength and regain function.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: Hydrotherapy can help individuals with sleep disturbances or insomnia by promoting relaxation and relieving tension. A soothing soak in warm water before bedtime can contribute to a more restful night’s sleep.

Difference between hydrotherapy and aquatic therapy

Hydrotherapy and aquatic therapy are water-based therapeutic approaches, but their focus and applications differ. Hydrotherapy typically involves using warm water and various techniques, such as whirlpools or hot tubs, for relaxation, pain relief, and overall well-being. It often includes soaking, water massage, or hot/cold treatments. 

On the other hand, aquatic therapy is a more structured form of therapy conducted in a pool under the guidance of a trained therapist. It utilizes the properties of water, such as buoyancy and resistance, to facilitate exercises and movements that target specific rehabilitation goals. Aquatic therapy is often used for physical rehabilitation, improving range of motion, strength, balance, and flexibility. While hydrotherapy focuses on relaxation and pain relief, aquatic therapy is more clinically oriented and aims to achieve functional outcomes in a rehabilitative setting.

How can Medicare beneficiaries access pools at low or no cost?

While Medicare itself may not directly cover the cost of pool access, there are alternative ways for Medicare beneficiaries to enjoy pool benefits at no cost:

  • Fitness programs: Some Medicare Advantage plans offer fitness programs such as SilverSneakers, which provides access to fitness centers and pools at no additional cost.
  • Community Centers: Local or senior centers may provide pool access for Medicare beneficiaries through senior programs or wellness initiatives.
  • Home Health Agency Services: In some instances, Medicare may cover limited pool-based services for home health agency care if deemed medically necessary.

Will Medicare Pay for a Swimming Pool FAQs

Can I get Medicare to pay for installing or maintaining a swimming pool?

No, Medicare does not typically cover swimming pool installation or maintenance costs.

Are there any Medicare Advantage plans that cover swimming pool access?

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer programs like SilverSneakers, which provide pool access at no additional cost. Check with your plan provider for specific details.

What is the difference between aquatic therapy and hydrotherapy?

Aquatic therapy involves exercises performed in water under the guidance of a therapist. Hydrotherapy focuses on the therapeutic benefits of warm water for pain relief and relaxation.

How do I find local community centers or senior programs that offer pool access?

Contact your local senior center or community center, or check with your Area Agency on Aging for information on available programs. Another way to gain access is by enrolling in a Medicare plan with a gym or fitness membership. Once enrolled, you can call participating gyms to see if they have pool access.

Can Medicare cover pool access for recreational purposes?

No, Medicare does not typically cover pool access for recreational purposes. Coverage is typically limited to medically necessary treatments prescribed by a healthcare professional.

Get Medicare plans to pay for access to swimming pools

Reviewing Medicare Advantage plans in your area is important to explore coverage options for pool access. Please fill out our online rate form to compare Medicare plans offering additional benefits like SilverSneakers, including pool access.

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Written By:
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Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare editor for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.
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Rodolfo Marrero, Rodolfo Marrero is one of the co-founders at Medigap.com. He has been helping consumers find the right coverage since the site was founded in 2013. Rodolfo is a licensed insurance agent that works hand-in-hand with the team to ensure the accuracy of the content.