AARP Medicare Plans - Review Supplement, Part C, & Part D

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AARP Medicare Plans

AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, was founded in 1958 and has more than 38 million members to date.

It has partnered with UnitedHealthcare to make Medicare coverage available with additional benefits to its members.  Read more to learn about the pros and cons of AARP coverage, the unique benefits its members have access to, and the Medicare plans available.

Pros & Cons of Choosing AARP Medicare Plans

Pros

  • It offers plans from UnitedHealthcare, which has a huge provider network. Its network includes 1 million physicians and other health care professionals and about 6,000 hospitals and other medical facilities.3
  • It’s PDPs include a pharmacy network with popular retailers and drugstores (e.g., Walgreens or Duane Reade).
  • UnitedHealthcare has a relatively low percentage of denied claims. In 2013, UnitedHealthcare denied just 1.2% of claims, compared to Medicare’s 4.9%.4

Cons

  • UnitedHealthcare gets a low one-star overall rating on Consumer Affairs due to complaints about customer service and claim denials.

Special Plan Features and Benefits

Customer Service: AARP makes it easy to get in contact if you have any questions about its plans. You can call, use the live chat feature on its website, or request to meet with an agent.

Savings through OptumRx®: You could pay $0 for your prescription medication by using your plan’s preferred mail service pharmacy, OptumRx®. There’s no charge for standard delivery to addresses in the U.S. Furthermore, you don’t have to leave your house!

Additional Resources:AARP provides a variety of resources for those who have questions or want to learn more. Their website includes downloadable Guides, FAQs, informational videos, worksheets, and a Plan Selector Tool to help choose a plan that’s right for you.

24/7 NurseLine: Most Part C plan members have access to a toll-free phone number they can call to talk to a registered nurse 24 hours a day. The nurse can answer medical questions, help with minor problems, or refer members to outside help when necessary.

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Types of Plans Offered

AARP offers the following types of plans:

AARP Advantage Plans

Advantage Plans, also called Part C, cover all the benefits of both Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (doctor coverage), plus additional benefits—all in one plan. Many plans also include prescription drug coverage. To be eligible to enroll, you must be enrolled in Part A and Part B and continue to pay your Part B monthly premium.

AARP Part C plans are known as MedicareComplete® plans. These plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare, and they offer various combinations of features and benefits that are designed to fit a variety of budgets and health care needs. These plans will not deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions, and you do not need to undergo a physical exam in order to be enrolled.

There are three types of AARP MedicareComplete® plans. Note that all of these plans may not be available in your area:

  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans: Under these plans, you typically have to receive services from a network of local providers, with the exception of emergency rooms, urgent care visits, and renal dialysis services. Your out-of-pocket costs may be generally lower than PPO and POS plans. Learn more about HMO plans.
  • Point-of-Service (POS) plans: These plans let you see providers outside of the plan’s network for certain services, but you may incur additional costs for doing so. Your out-of-pocket costs will generally be higher than HMO plans, but lower than PPO plans.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans: With these plans, you can see providers outside of the plan’s network for all covered services, but it may cost you more to do so. You do not need a referral to see a specialist with a PPO plan. Your out-of-pocket costs may be generally higher than both HMO and POS plans. Learn more about PPO plans.

MedicareComplete® plans offer the following features and benefits:

  • An annual out-of-pocket maximum to help with health care expenses
  • Fixed copayment for doctor visits and many medical services
  • $0 copayment for many preventive services
  • Worldwide emergency care
  • Routine eye exams
  • Yearly hearing exams and hearing aid coverage

Additional benefits may include:

  • Wellness programs and 24-hour phone access to a live nurse
  • Eyewear coverage
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • A large nationwide network of retail pharmacies
  • A $0 copayment for a 90-day supply of Tier 1 and Tier 2 medications with home delivery
  • Other additional benefits not covered Part A and B

AARP Supplement Plans

Supplement Plans, or Medigap Plans, help cover expenses that are not covered by Part A and B, such as copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance. They are standardized, which means that each is required to offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it.

Millions of AARP members are enrolled in the Medigap Plans offered3. Like all standardized plans, these plans feature a variety of coverage options that:

  • Allow you to choose any doctor who accepts Medicare patients
  • Helps cover some of the expenses not paid by Part A and B, such as copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance
  • Require no referrals to see a specialist

There are 10 different plans to choose from. AARP’s Plan F is the most popular plan because it provides the most complete coverage available and is one of the most widespread policies you can purchase. As a result, it is also the most expensive plan when compared to the other plans.

You can view the benefits of each lettered plan here.

When choosing an insurance company, keep in mind that costs can vary, so make sure to compare plans from different companies.

Please note that Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin standardize Supplement plans differently than the rest of the country. To learn more about plans in these states, please contact us. You can call a licensed agent at 855-802-1206 weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time; closed weekends.

AARP Prescription Drug Plans (PDP)

Part A and B doesn’t include prescription drug coverage, and although some Advantage Plans do, the coverage itself can be very limited. AARP offers prescription drug coverage through UnitedHealthcare with plans called AARP MedicareRx.

These are the types of plans:

  • AARP MedicareRx Walgreens: This plan includes most generic prescription drugs covered by Part D. Your annual deductible is $0 for Drug Tiers 1 and 2 and $400 for Drug Tiers 3 through 5. Your copayment may be as low as $0 when you fill your prescription at a Walgreens pharmacy. This plan may be a good option if you are looking for a low premium and you’re able to fill your prescriptions at a Walgreens or Duane Reade pharmacy.
  • AARP MedicareRx Preferred: This plan includes most generic prescription drugs and many brand name prescription drugs covered by Part D. Your annual deductible is $0.4 Your copayment may be as low as $2 when you fill your prescriptions at a Preferred Retail Network pharmacy. This plan may a good option if you are looking for robust drug coverage with minimal costs.
  • AARP MedicareRx Saver PLUS: Like the MedicareRx Preferred plan, this plan includes most generic prescription drugs and many brand name prescription drugs covered by Part D. Your annual deductible is $400. Your copayment may be as low as $1 when you fill your prescription at a Preferred Retail Network pharmacy. This plan may be a good fit if you’re looking for coverage for the most common prescription drugs.

All MedicareRx plans offer savings through OptumRx®, AARP’s preferred mail service pharmacy. For some plans, you can pay $0 for a 90-day supply of Tier 1 and Tier 2 medications if you use OptumRx®.

All plans include coverage for commonly used generic and brand name prescription drugs, but coverage and drug lists may be different. For more information about these plans, visit our AARP PDP page.

We hope this article helps you figure out if buying a plan from AARP may be a good decision for you.

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Sources:
1 United Healthcare “Medicare PlansUnitedHealth Group”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “How do national health insurers compare on denying claims?
3 AARPmedicaresupplement.com by ORC International August 2015, “Substantiation of Advertising Claims Concerning AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans,”   or call 1-866-304-6897 to request a copy of the full report.
4 From AARPMedicareplans.com. The AARP MedicareRx Preferred (PDP) plan will have a $400 deductible in the following territories: Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Northern Mariana Islands.

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