AARP Medicare Plans Review

Medical bills inevitably climb as we age. Unfortunately, Medicare alone often isn’t enough to cover these mounting health costs. In fact, one study found that Medicare only covers around 65% of the average senior’s medical bills.

AARP members may be eligible for a Medicare Plan insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or an affiliated company. These Medicare Supplement plans are known as Medigap insurance because they fill the coverage gaps when Medicare doesn’t cover all of your medical bills. You can choose between several types of Medicare Supplement plans depending on the coverage you need. AARP Medicare Plans are available in some states to people who are younger than 65 but eligible for Medicare because of end-stage renal disease or disability.

AARP is known for promoting wellness among older Americans, and its Medicare Plans are no exception. We rated AARP Medicare Plans best for customer service in our review of top Medicare Supplement plans.

Pros
  • Plan Selector tool helps you choose the right plan for your needs
  • Extensive network of providers and pharmacies
  • Provider Locator finds in-network specialists in your area
  • Drug Cost Estimator determines medication costs under various plans
  • Underwritten by UnitedHealthcare, the largest healthcare provider in the world

Cons
  • Must be a member of AARP to qualify

How AARP Medicare Plans Work

The government sets rules for Medicare coverage. Part A covers some surgery and hospital costs. Medicare is available at no cost through the federal government for Americans age 65 and older who qualify for Social Security. Part B covers doctor visits and is available through the government for a monthly premium. Both parts A and B are not full coverage plans.

The plans offered through AARP are considered Medicare Parts C and D. Part D is the name given to private prescription drug coverage for people who have Medicare. Part C is private insurance that bundles Parts A and B and often includes Part D. AARP’s Medicare Plans are available in Parts C and D. Both charge a premium to give you access to certain benefits.

When you have both government-sponsored Medicare and private insurance like an AARP Medicare Plan, coordination of benefits rules dictate which insurance company pays first for eligible medical expenses.

Types of AARP Medicare Plans

There are three main types of AARP Medicare Plans you can choose from. These include the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and a prescription drug plan.

AARP Medicare Advantage Plans

AARP’s Medicare Advantage Plans are a convenient way to streamline your Medicare coverage. Most of these plans combine Medicare Parts A, B and D coverage in one plan and offer additional benefits.

There are several AARP Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plans to choose from, depending on availability in your area. You may be able to choose from a PPO or HMO plan. These plans offer the advantages of a Medicare Part A or B plan, including hospital stays, doctor visits and prescription drug coverage.

Many plans also include additional features like Renew Active, a fitness benefit program offering gym memberships, enrichment classes and more at no added cost.

AARP Medicare Supplement Plans

AARP Medicare Supplement Plans are ideal for those whose Medicare Part A and B plans are inadequate. These plans provide additional coverage to reduce your copays and deductibles toward doctor visits, hospital stays and other medical expenses. All Medicare Supplement Plans, or Medigap plans, have the same benefits set by the government. Your AARP Supplement Plan will have the same benefits as a Medicare Supplement Plan from any company.

AARP Medicare Supplement Plans receive additional support through At Your Best, a program from UnitedHealthcare. This program offers discount programs, gym memberships, wellness coaching and a 24/7 nurse line. You’ll also receive discounts on hearing aids and screenings.

AARP Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

Medicare Part A and B do not cover prescription drugs. AARP Medicare Prescription Drug Plans can ease some of the financial burdens of medication costs. You are probably eligible for a Prescription Drug Plan if you have Medicare or both Medicare and a Medicare Supplement Plan. AARP Medicare Prescription Drug Plans and similar Medigap plans only cover specific prescriptions, so be sure to check the plan’s drug list to see if the medications you need are included.

AARP Medicare Plan Options
Plan Plan
Benefits*
Features*
AARP Medicare Advantage
(Part C)
– $0 doctor visit copay
– $0 copay for most prescriptions
– Free dental, vision and hearing exams
– Save 40% on OTC medications
– Unlimited Virtual Visits with healthcare providers
– Renew Active fitness program
– Assistance using your plan
AARP Medicare Supplement – Part A coinsurance for hospital costs
– Part B coinsurance or copayment for doctor visits
– Cost of blood transfusions (first 3 pints)
– Hospice / respite care coinsurance or copayment
– At Your Best health program
– Discounts on hearing aids and screenings from HearUSA
– Vision discounts from EyeMed
– May include Part A or B deductibles
AARP Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) – Savings on prescription drugs, with some copays as low as $0
– Preferred network of pharmacies saves you even more money
– Mail-order pharmacy with home delivery
*Features and benefits available in most plans

AARP Medicare Plan Costs

For any of AARP’s Medicare Plans, you’ll pay a monthly premium plus copays and other out-of-pocket expenses. Premiums and copays depend on several factors, including the type of plan and your ZIP code. You must also be a member of AARP to qualify for an AARP Medicare Plan through UnitedHealthcare. An annual AARP membership is currently $16.

How to Buy AARP Medicare Plans

The AARP Medicare Plan website has helpful Plan Selector tools to walk you through choosing a plan based on your needs and current Medicare coverage. You can choose a plan and the start date, then pay your first premium online or request a mailed invoice. You’ll pay your monthly premium via the same method you make your initial payment.

AARP Medicare Plan Complaints

AARP Medicare Plans receive mostly positive reviews online. ConsumersAdvocate gives the plans 4.5 out of 5 stars and rates the plans especially high for services, reputation, customer experience and financial strength. ConsumerAffairs reviewers grade these plans with 3.6 out of 5 stars. Keep in mind that many of the complaints are about limits of coverage set by the government, which is the same from any Medicare Supplement Plan provider. The Better Business Bureau gives both UnitedHealth Group and AARP an A+ rating.

AARP Medicare Plans Q&A

  • Does AARP offer any Medicare Special Needs Plans?

    Yes, AARP offers insurance to those who qualify to receive care through a contracted network of providers. Drug coverage is included in these plans.

  • Are there ways to save money on prescription drugs with an AARP Part D plan?

    Yes. You can often lower your out-of-pocket expenses by choosing a generic drug and by ordering at least a 3-month supply through a mail-order pharmacy.

  • How can I learn more about Medicare and how AARP Medicare Plans can help?

    The AARP Medicare Plan website has a wide selection of resources to help you learn more about Medicare and find out if an AARP Medicare Plan is right for you.

  • What happens if I don’t renew my Medicare?

    In order to remain eligible for AARP Medicare plans, you must be enrolled in federal medicare.

  • I still have questions about AARP Medicare Plans. Who can I talk to?

    You can chat live with a company representative through their website.

Conclusion

AARP is known for advocacy for people over the age of 50 and for providing many opportunities to save money on services and products. AARP’s membership cost is only $16 to take advantage of these savings as well as the AARP Medicare Plans. Deciding which plan to apply for is simplified with tools available on the website.

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