Big insurer extends Healthways SilverSneakers deal

Prominent BlueCross insurer Highmark, which has more than 5 million members in three states, has renewed its long-running contract with the SilverSneakers senior fitness program run by Healthways. The latest deal — Highmark has contracted with SilverSneakers since 2004 — runs through next year.

According to a 2012 survey, 57 percent of Highmark members who participate in SilverSneakers reported their health as excellent or very good, almost twice the national average of 32 percent for older adults. In addition, approximately 30 percent of surveyed members reported improvement in arthritis pain and lower back pain since participating in the program. Furthermore, 89 percent of Highmark SilverSneakers participants have either increased or maintained their aerobic activity level over the last year.