Dear Maui Powerhouse Gym Member,
Active and Fit terminated us from their network, let’s be clear about that. We did not cease to participate, they axed us from their network. There is a lot more context on that below.
First and foremost, you do not need to change your gym. The network change does not take effect until 2024. In 2024, Maui Powerhouse Gym will still be the lowest cost provider of high-value fitness center memberships in Hawaii even without Active and Fit subsidizing your membership. Everything that you love about MPHG (the ridiculous value, the open hours, offerings, child care, customer service, equipment, and the list goes on) is provided for prices just a smidgen above the cut-rate no-services fitness centers like Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness is $30/month, Club Maui is $80/month, Gym Maui is $130/mo, MPHG is $50 a month without Active and Fit. There are many reasons that we are number one in the State, and our cost-to-value ratio is a big one. You can rest easy knowing that our business model is based on providing high value and high quality fitness and wellness to the entire community here on Maui and that principle will never change, even if the methodology does.
Since Logan and I have taken over in 2017 we have intentionally throttled down our prices compared to other facilities on island (and especially compared to other facilities on the mainland). That will always be the case. So, if you are in a panic that you are suddenly going to be priced out, take a big breath, this was not some cash grab on our end. You will not be priced out for as long as we own the gym and we aren’t selling, so you can bank on that.
The Story With Active and Fit: It was not us! And this was a long time coming so bear with the long explanation, it takes some time to properly convey that the gym is being attacked and our members (you!) are being moved around to create a profit margin for Active and Fit.
As you have heard, American Specialty Health has terminated Maui Powerhouse Gym from their network of participating fitness centers. They will not formally answer why this has happened but we suspect that there are two main reasons why:
(1) Too many members at one gym is too expensive for them because it gives us too much leverage to negotiate rates:
Maui Powerhouse Gym is the leading provider of Active and Fit memberships in the State of Hawaii and we have a remarkably high concentration of Active and Fit users on Maui who use their membership here at the gym. We suspect that, in Active and Fit’s business judgment we have too many MPHG members on their network for their liking. Our guess is that Active and Fit would prefer it if Maui Powerhouse Gym members were dispersed across the island to the few remaining Active and Fit facilities (all of them on the Premium Network, See: Below) which would then lower their monthly costs on Maui. They believe that administering the program would be less expensive for them if you were not able to come to Powerhouse at all. Does it feel like they care about your options, or your wellness? Or, are you just somebody they make money off of? You can answer that one for yourself.
(2) They want all fitness centers on Maui to be in their “Premium Network” so they can charge all of you a $21 monthly user fee that they keep, which we refused to do:
If we were to transition to being a “Premium Network” facility, each and every member would be required to pay Active and Fit an additional $21+ per month. This fee would not increase the amount of money paid to the gym or increase your services, it would just be a fee that they collect and keep. We have steadfastly refused to participate in this program because it is contrary to how the program is advertised and what it is intended for. Ultimately, it is likely that this is why they terminated us from the network.
A Brief History Lesson: When the Active and Fit program started all participating gyms were on what they called “Tier 1 Networks,” meaning that there was no additional fee paid to Active and Fit by the member per month. When the “Premium Network” was introduced in 2016, the idea was that it would provide expanded coverage to traditionally more expensive fitness clubs (like CrossFit, LifeTime Fitness, and Equinox, which cost around $140/month or more) by charging additional user fees paid by the member directly to Active and Fit. Over the last three years, Active and Fit has drastically lowered the bar for Premium Network facilities so that it now includes any fitness center in Hawaii that is not Planet Fitness. We were the last remaining Tier 1 holdout on Maui! By terminating us from participating in the program, Active and Fit has fully eliminated the base level of coverage for fitness centers on Maui. We have tried to tell insurance companies what is happening to this product that they promote but they have been asleep at the wheel and have not responded to our warnings.
Active and Fit wants all of their fitness centers on Maui to be Premium Network facilities, and we disagreed with that for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, that’s a complete misrepresentation of the program as it is sold to members by their insurance companies. Secondly, the additional fee collected by Active and Fit did not increase payment to the gym or services provided to the member, they would just keep it! We are a fitness center that only charges $50/month what is the necessity in charging a $20 monthly fee when there has not been one for the prior 15+ years in the program? To us, the additional fee represented just another instance of a mainland company plundering island residents for money that left the island. We were not going to do it and here we are.
If You Are Upset, Here is How You Can Make Your Complaints Known
If you want to change the status quo then lobbying your insurance company is your best bet. Active and Fit essentially does not care (they already made that clear when they terminated the gym, right?) and they make their money from their contracts with insurance companies. So if you want to be effectively heard, CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY!
We tried reaching out to Kaiser and HMSA to sound the alarm about what was happening on Maui with the Active and Fit program, that they are selling a product to their members under false pretenses that is misleading and the intermediary administrator of the program was manipulating the residents of Maui by attempting to shepherd them for their own contractual benefits. We got no response from anybody. You will have better luck than us, especially en masse. They are incredibly reactive to members of the program who call to complain. Call them and make some noise.
Call them, you will be heard: They have no idea what is happening, so they will not understand what you are talking about. You will have to explain it to them.
Tell them this:
You are a member of their insurance program and you participate in the Active and Fit product that they, as an insurance company, sold you.
Active and Fit terminated your favorite gym Maui Powerhouse Gym, does this make you upset?
That Powerhouse is happy to be a part of the program on Tier 1 (as it has been since 2005).
Fitness centers that charge discounted rates to the general public should not be considered a “Premium Network” fitness center.
With no gyms remaining as eligible on Tier 1 on Maui the entire program is misleading because it no longer provides low cost access as originally intended.
Does this affect your opinion of the insurance company and the insurance products they are selling to you? Tell them how, if so.
Insurance companies provide Active and Fit as a means of inducing you to both purchase insurance from them and to keep your insurance with them. Be sure to let them know you’re shopping around now if you want to be heard.
Kaiser Customer Service: 1 (800)-966-5955
HMSA Customer Service: 1 (800) 776-4672
UHA Customer Service: 1 (808) 532-4000
American Specialty Health: If you want to be heard by this company you have to be extraordinarily persistent. They are banking on you joining another gym and ditching Powerhouse. It makes them more money if you quit here and join another gym (not a lot of options, though). Tell them that they are wrong and that you won’t be participating in their program. If you are so inclined to contact American Specialty Health, here is their customer service phone number: (800) 848-3555
The Community Has a Bright Future Ahead at Powerhouse
The future has never been brighter at Maui Powerhouse Gym than it is right now. Nobody cares more or tries harder to provide the best for the community than we do. Active and Fit’s unilateral decision to terminate will mean that the days of ultra-low cost access to our facility, or any facility on Maui, are likely over which will cause some pain for some people. We are committed to helping everyone who has access to the gym currently to maintain that ability by providing the same low-cost affordable rates that we currently do.
We will be in touch more about this going forward but that’s all for today. I’m sure that you have questions, so if you’d like to talk go ahead and respond to this email and I will receive it directly.
We are grateful for all of you and are looking forward to a prosperous future together here on Maui.
Pete, Logan, and the MPHG Staff and Studio Instructor Crew