AARP United Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage offerings deliver equivalent health benefits to those of original Medicare.
Many plans go beyond that, offering coverage for prescription drugs, dental and vision care, as well as over-the-counter products.
A substantial number of AARP Medicare plans feature budget-friendly monthly premiums, with some costing as little as $0.
However, it’s essential to be aware that certain plans require seeking services exclusively from in-network providers.
Also, it is crucial to clarify that AARP does not serve as an insurance provider and is not involved in the creation or administration of the Medicare Advantage plans offered by UnitedHealthcare.
What Is The AARP Medicare Advantage?
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals on their aging journey.
UnitedHealthcare, a private health insurance company, has had a longstanding partnership with AARP. In this collaboration, AARP receives royalties and grants permission for UnitedHealthcare to offer Medicare Advantage plans under the AARP name.
Notably, AARP Medicare Advantage plans benefit from the broadest network of healthcare providers and hospitals compared to other Medicare Advantage plan providers.
How Does AARP Medicare Advantage Work?
Around the age of 65 or with specific health conditions, one becomes eligible for Medicare. To begin, submit an application for Parts A and B through the Social Security Administration.
Subsequently, individuals can opt for a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, offered by various private insurance companies. These plans encompass all benefits and services provided by Original Medicare and extend beyond.
Medicare Advantage plans often provide additional benefits such as dental, vision, hearing, transportation, fitness, and over-the-counter products. Many plans also include a Part D prescription drug plan.
It’s important to note that copays may apply for various services. When reviewing additional benefits, like dental or vision care, ensure that the desired services are covered by your plan. Additionally, understanding the coverage of the medications you take and your responsibility for copays is crucial.
Upon becoming eligible for Medicare, you can enroll in a plan. During this period, individuals have the flexibility to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, revert to Original Medicare, or join a separate Medicare drug plan.
How Much Does AARP Medicare Advantage Cost?
UnitedHealthcare offers a range of monthly premiums for its Medicare Advantage plans, spanning from $0 to $197.
The majority, comprising 73% of enrollees, opt for plans with no monthly premiums, while 16% choose low-premium plans with costs at or below $30 per month.
However, it’s important to note that, regardless of the Medicare Advantage plan chosen, individuals are still required to pay the Medicare Part B monthly premium.
But in 2023, this premium amounts to $164.90 and is typically deducted from the monthly Social Security payment.
Types Of AARP Medicare Advantage
AARP’s Medicare Advantage plans exhibit diversity in their structures, costs, and available benefits. The company provides a range of options, including HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans, along with stand-alone prescription drug plans.
This variety allows individuals to choose a plan that aligns with their specific healthcare needs and preferences.
AARP provides diverse Medicare Advantage plans, catering to members’ needs with options like HMOs for restrictions or PPOs for flexibility.
A health maintenance organization (HMO) plan necessitates the use of a designated network of healthcare providers, including doctors and hospitals. To consult with a specialist, you often require a referral from your primary doctor.
Additionally, the benefits for services obtained outside of this network are generally restricted in HMO plans.
This structure aims to streamline and coordinate healthcare services within the established network, promoting a more managed and cost-effective approach to medical care.
HMO D-SNP Plans
AARP Medicare Advantage extends HMO Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) in numerous locations.
These plans are specifically crafted for individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, addressing the unique needs of this dual-eligible population.
The majority of HMO Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) from AARP Medicare Advantage come with no premiums, deductibles, or copays.
These plans offer a $350 quarterly credit for over-the-counter medical supplies and approved wellness products.
Additionally, beneficiaries receive 60 one-way trips to healthcare providers annually, a personal emergency device, and renewed Active Fitness memberships.
The plan covers 20 chiropractic or acupuncture visits per year, eye exams, and eyewear, including hearing aids.
There are also benefits for no-cost or low-cost prescription drugs, routine or comprehensive dental care, and virtual health visits (telehealth).
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans offer a high degree of flexibility, permitting you to visit any healthcare provider that accepts the insurance.
Unlike HMOs, PPO plans typically do not mandate the selection of a primary doctor, and referrals are not required to consult with specialists.
However, PPOs offer the advantage of accessing out-of-network providers but beware of higher costs compared to in-network services.
This flexibility is designed to provide individuals with a broader range of choices and greater autonomy in managing their healthcare needs.
AARP provides private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans in specific regions, and these plans differ from regular Part C plans. Under PFFS, your insurance company establishes the payment for each medical service.
However, if your healthcare provider doesn’t agree with the set fee, they have the choice to decline treatment. This means your doctor may decide to offer certain services while opting out of others.
Medicare Advantage PFFS plans still cover the same medical services as original Medicare. As Part C plans, they also provide additional benefits, though the specifics can vary between plans.
Typically, with most PFFS plans, you have the flexibility to consult any Medicare-approved doctor. There’s no obligation to choose a primary care provider or obtain a referral to see a specialist.
It’s important to note that PFFS plans are not available in all regions, and premiums may be higher compared to other plan options.
What Do AARP Medicare Advantage Plans Cover?
AARP Medicare Advantage plans extend coverage to the fundamental services provided by both Medicare Part A and Part B, collectively known as original Medicare. Many of these plans include coverage for:
- Preventive or comprehensive dental care.
- Eye exams and eyewear such as glasses or contact lenses.
- Coverage for hearing aids.
- Inclusive fitness programs or gym memberships.
- Annual physical examinations.
- Immunizations like flu shots and other vaccines.
- Access to telehealth services through virtual visits.
- 24-hour nurse hotline.
Beyond the standard coverage for hospital and outpatient medical care, which aligns with original Medicare, Advantage plans offer additional benefits, including those mentioned.
However, some plans go beyond that by incorporating alternative health services like chiropractic care and acupuncture.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of AARP Medicare Advantage
UnitedHealthcare, the largest Medicare Advantage provider in the United States, ensures AARP Medicare Advantage plans. These plans come with distinct advantages and disadvantages, as outlined below:
Advantages Of The AARP Medicare Advantage
Supported By A Solid Entity
AARP’s Medicare Advantage plans are underwritten by UnitedHealthcare, a company renowned for its stability.
UnitedHealthcare boasts the most extensive Medicare Advantage network among all companies, comprising over 1 million healthcare providers within its network.
Many Strong Plans
A considerable majority of AARP’s Medicare Advantage plans demonstrate strength, with approximately 7 out of 10 plans receiving star ratings of 4 stars or above.
A significant portion of AARP Medicare Advantage plans comes at a low cost, with 73% of them providing the benefit of a $0 premium.
Included in all standard Medicare Advantage plans from AARP are dental perks. These plans feature dental coverage with $0 to pay for the majority of covered dental services when using in-network providers.
This coverage encompasses procedures such as fillings, extractions, and crowns, all within the plan’s annual limit.
Additionally, UnitedHealthcare, the insurer for AARP Medicare Advantage plans, boasts the largest dental network.
Disadvantages Of The AARP Medicare Advantage
Average Star Rating
The member experience metrics for UnitedHealthcare, AARP’s insurance partner, including aspects like care coordination and customer service, fall within average ranges.
When considering average star ratings and factoring in enrollment, they slightly dip below the overall average for all healthcare providers.
The array of benefits and features for AARP Medicare Advantage plans can differ based on your location. Consequently, your plan choices may be more limited depending on your place of residence.
The size of the provider network for AARP Medicare Advantage plans is contingent upon your particular location. It varies based on where you reside.
AARP functions as a non-profit interest group and advocacy organization. It actively supports and promotes policies at the local, state, and national levels to represent the interests of older Americans.
However, AARP members have the opportunity to utilize the benefits offered by the organization, including discounts on various products and services.