Benefits Of AARP Health Insurance



As individuals reach retirement age and transition away from employer-sponsored health plans, finding affordable coverage options becomes critically important. With rising healthcare costs, it’s essential to explore all available choices to ensure proper protection against medical expenses and unexpected health issues. For many aging Americans, one highly beneficial option is to consider an AARP health insurance plan.


The AARP offers a wide selection of Medicare supplement, dental, and travel insurance plans designed specifically for those over 50. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the key selling points and advantages of selecting an AARP health plan over other alternatives. By understanding the coverage details, eligibility requirements, cost factors, and member perks, you’ll be well-equipped to determine if partnering with the AARP makes sense for your individual health coverage needs in retirement.


Let’s begin with a brief primer on two important types of health insurance relevant to this discussion:


Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap): Private plans that fill coverage gaps in Original Medicare plans by covering deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. They help pay for out-of-pocket costs not covered under Medicare Part A and B.


Medicare Advantage Plans: Also called Part C, these are offered by private insurers as an alternative to Original Medicare. They must provide all Part A and B benefits and often include additional coverage like prescription drugs and wellness incentives.


Understanding these policy structures will make discussing AARP’s Medigap and Medicare Advantage options much clearer.


Medicare Supplement Plans


The AARP offers all 10 standardized Medigap plan designs (Plans A through N) approved by Medicare to its eligible members. Key benefits of selecting an AARP Medigap plan include:


Guaranteed Access: Those newly enrolling at 65 will not face medical underwriting or denied coverage like other private Medigap plans.


Potentially Lower Rates: As one of the largest affinity groups, the AARP’s insurer partners can distribute risks widely and offer competitive monthly premiums.


Standardized Benefits: All policies strictly adhere to Medicare Medigap mandates ensuring consistent coverage nationwide without exceptions.


Multiple Carrier Partnerships: AARP contracts Medigap plans through UnitedHealthcare, Mutual of Omaha, Bankers Life and Casualty Company, and other reputable insurers for broad choice.


Helpful Plan Comparison Tool: Members can utilize the AARP Medigap premium calculator to easily view rates from partner companies by ZIP code.


Reliable Customer Service: Dedicated support representatives assist with enrollments, claims issues, benefits questions, and insurer relations as needed.


Choosing an AARP Medigap plan offers seamless guaranteed access and competitive options to closing coverage gaps in Original Medicare after turning 65. Streamlined enrollment tools also take the guesswork out of selecting the right supplemental plan design and rates.


Medicare Advantage Plans


AARP Medicare Advantage PPO plans provide an insured managed care alternative that bundles Part A, B, and often Part D drug coverage together. Key benefits of these plans include:


No Additional Premiums: Many AARP Advantage plans have $0 monthly premiums on top of standard Medicare Parts B/D monthly amounts.


Predictable Cost Sharing: Plans feature copays for doctor visits and services rather than coinsurance percentages and deductibles of Original Medicare.


Extra Benefits: Most include vision, hearing, dental and gym membership perks along with wellness incentives to maintain health.


Nationwide Networks: UnitedHealthcare’s national network of providers gives access to care while traveling across the country.


Care Management Support: Care coordinators help members navigate healthcare needs, arrange specialist referrals and access community resources.


Out-of-Pocket Maximums: Annual limits on total spending for covered medical care provide budget certainty.


AARP Medicare Advantage plans offer enrichment features geared specifically for active aging adults looking to simplify costs and care coordination through a coordinated managed care system. Their broad access and bundled structures prove attractive for many retirees.


Beyond Core Health Plans


In addition to its primary Medicare plans, the AARP also provides select members with access to additional products to further enhance savings and flexibility:


Dental, Vision, and Hearing Care Plans


Standalone or bundled coverage options help offset costs for services often excluded from medical plans but important for whole-body wellness in senior years.


Cancer Plans


Designed to provide financial assistance with out-of-pocket costs associated with cancer diagnoses and treatments like travel, lodging, and alternative therapies.


Life Insurance


Term or whole-life options allow designating beneficiaries and leaving legacy funds or protection for loved ones.


Travel Insurance


Emergency medical and trip cancellation coverage eases concerns when venturing outside standard Medicare networks domestically or abroad.


These extra layers of choice complement core medical coverage needs and reflect an awareness of diverse health priorities specific to aging. Bundling with qualified AARP Advantage or Medigap plans also makes the enrollment process simplified.


Eligibility for AARP Plans


To qualify for AARP major medical health insurance plans, individuals must meet basic Medicare eligibility standards of:


Being a United States citizen or legal resident for at least 5 continuous years


Being age 65 or older (or under 65 on account of disability)


Enrolling during Medicare open or special enrollment periods


Additionally, all AARP members must currently be or join as an AARP member for a one-time nominal fee. Spouses and domestic partners of members also gain access to the same medical plan options.


Coverage Cost Comparisons


Determining if the savings potential of AARP plans outweigh costs ultimately depends on individual premium rate quotes. Here are some general cost guidelines:


Core AARP Medigap plans can save 10-20% on average versus non-AARP carrier rates in a given location.


AARP Advantage PPO premiums match or undercut regional averages according to Medicare plan finder tools.


Dental/vision add-ons keep premiums under $50/month individually or combined.


Life insurance terms as low as $15,000 coverage are $15-30/month.


Travel coverage starts at $110 annual fee for emergency benefits outside home country.


Run sample rate calculations through the AARP Medigap tool or contact an agent for official quotes tailored to personal details. Costs will vary year-to-year with inflation factors and plan upgrades, but joining as an AARP member offers built-in premium protection advantages long-term.


Filing Insurance Claims


Filing claims with any AARP health plan follows similar procedures to other private Medicare policies:


Present medical ID cards to all providers rendering eligible services.


Keep itemized statements and bills organized for reference as needed.


Core plans use standard Medicare deductibles, copays, and billing systems already familiar to seniors.


Advantage plans use typical HMO/PPO copay billing for covered services.


Any extraordinary costs over annual out-of-pocket limits require insurer submission.


Insurer claims departments process bills directly to avoid member out-of-pocket costs.


Mobile apps streamline claims uploading from provider offices to expedite reimbursements.


Partnering insurers handle the claim handling process for AARP plans, so members deal directly with the carrier’s systems they are already familiar with for claim resolution.


AARP Member Perks


Being an AARP member unlocks additional non-healthcare discounts and benefits that can further offset monthly premium costs:


Hotel, entertainment, travel and auto rental deals.


Dining and shopping discounts at restaurants nationwide and stores like Walgreens.


Seminars on topics like caregiving, finances and community resources.


Digital magazine subscriptions delivering lifestyle content and savings tips.


Roadside assistance for automotive emergencies and lockouts.


While saving on membership itself, members essentially gain a members-only coupon book adding significant value to their overall AARP relationship on top of the medical coverage advantages.


The Bottom Line


In summary, AARP health plans offer a robust selection of top-rated Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and supplemental options specifically designed for those 50+ transitioning insurance needs. Unique features like guaranteed access, standardization, built-in cost savings, and member extras make them worth serious consideration versus going it alone in open individual Medigap markets or MA provider networks. Run numbers to compare individual AARP quotes against available alternatives and leverage tools to find the ideal plans providing coverage, cost protection and benefits to best suit long-term retirement health and financial security goals.

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