As thousands of Baby Boomers reach age 65 every day in the U.S., they become eligible for health care coverage from Medicare. Yet, while Medicare may offer a great deal of benefit, the program leaves many “gaps” in its coverage, requiring individuals to pay deductibles, copayments, and uncovered expenses out-of-pocket.
One way that many Medicare enrollees combat these costs is through Medicare Supplement insurance. This coverage picks up by paying for many of the services that aren’t included in Medicare’s benefits – making potentially cost prohibitive services much more affordable.
There are a number of organizations and insurers that offer Medicare Supplement coverage. Certainly, one of the biggest and most well known sources of Medicare Supplement insurance – as well as other important products and services for seniors – is AARP.
AARP, the organization formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, is considered to be the nation’s largest entity in the U.S. for individuals who are age 50 and over. The organization was founded in 1958 by Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, and today it has a membership in excess of 40 million people.
This nonprofit entity offers education, information, advocacy, research, and community services via a network of local chapters that span across the country. The organization has several important focuses, including economic security, consumer issues, health, work, legislative, and judicial issues for seniors.
AARP has staffed offices that are located in all 50 of the U.S. states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This makes it convenient for members and potential members to visit a location in person to ask questions or to inquire about various AARP benefits.
Those who are age 50 and over can become a member of AARP for only $16 per year. Members receive numerous benefits, including discounts on travel and other products and services, as well as a subscription to “AARP The Magazine.”
AARP is also one of the biggest lobbying groups in the United States, and has become quite powerful over the years. It is also a highly successful business that offers products and services to its members such as investment funds and insurance – including Medicare Supplement coverage.
In order to advocate for consumers in the marketplace, AARP ensures that the products and services that it offers contain value and high quality. Due to its tremendous purchasing power, many of the AARP product and service offerings provide discounts to AARP members.
Which Medicare Supplement Insurance Policies Are Offered?
In total, there are ten different Medicare Supplement insurance policies offered on the market today. Each Medicare Supplement plan is named using a different letter of the alphabet, with Medicare Supplement Plan A offering the most basic set of core benefits, and all of the others – Plan B through Plan N – offering more comprehensive coverage. To learn more about the different plans click here.
Regardless of which insurance company provides the coverage, and which state the plan is offered in (other than Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin), all Medicare Supplement insurance plans that are represented by the same letter must offer identical benefits. The premium amount, however, can differ a great deal.
There are several Medicare Supplement plans endorsed by AARP that are offered through UnitedHealthcare. In order to determine which plans are offered in which states, potential applicants need to contact a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement representative in their state, or go online to AARP’s website and complete a short informational form. Here, upon entering the state of residence, AARP will display the available plans, as well as what benefits such plans offer.
Other Types of Insurance Coverage Offered by AARP
In addition to Medicare Supplement insurance, AARP offers several other types of insurance coverage to its members – including homeowners coverage, auto insurance, life insurance, and long-term care insurance. These policies are sold through a number of AARP-endorsed providers. To help ensure that its members are receiving a good value, the organization provides quality control over the products and services that are made available through its providers.
All of these policies are offered through top rated insurers, giving AARP members who are also policy holders the peace of mind in knowing that their coverage will be there if and when it is needed – both now and in the future.
How to Obtain a Medicare Supplement Insurance Quote for AARP Coverage
Medicare Supplement insurance is endorsed through AARP Services, Inc. This arm of the organization also provides discounts on prescription drugs for the organization’s many members.
AARP Services, Inc. was established in 1999, and it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the AARP organization. This component of the AARP organization markets and manages products and services, as well as maintains numerous partnership and sponsorship relationships with the providers of its offerings.
The Medicare Supplement insurance policies that are offered through AARP are insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company. In order to obtain a quote for Medicare Supplement insurance, there are several different options. These include:
Where Consumers Can Purchase AARP Medigap Coverage
Once a quote has been obtained, coverage can also be purchased either online, via the telephone, or through a licensed Medicare Supplement insurance agent. Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to be sure that all questions have been answered completely regarding policy benefits, premiums, and other related factors.
Why Purchase Medicare Supplement Insurance Through AARP?
While many companies offer Medicare Supplement insurance, it is good to obtain coverage from a name that consumers know and trust. By purchasing a Medicare Supplement insurance policy through AARP, enrollees can be sure that the policy is underwritten by a strong insurer.
AARP policies are insured by United Healthcare, a division of UnitedHealth Group. This is the largest health insurance carrier in the United States, covering approximately 70 million Americans.
Today, there are several insurance company rating agencies that analyze insurers and then provide ratings based upon the insurance company’s financial strength and claims paying ability. UnitedHealth has very good ratings from the major insurance company rating agencies. These include:
Over the past 50+ years, AARP has become widely recognized for being a trusted source for news, education, and lifestyle tips for those in the 50 and over age category. The entity’s commitment to the highest standards of ethical behavior means that AARP’s business decisions take into account the risk of the entire enterprise.
In addition, AARP expects and requires that all of its employees and volunteers – including board members and those who do business with the organization – follow a strict code of conduct. This has helped the organization to be viewed in very high regard by both consumers and other business related entities.
Other Advantages of Obtaining Coverage Through AARP
There are other advantages to purchasing a Medicare Supplement policy through AARP – starting with the many additional benefits that are received by simply being an AARP member. These include discounts on anything from groceries, to travel, to cell phone plans, to other types of financial products and services. AARP even provides easy to use spending and budget tools directly on its websites so that members can access their current and future financial situation.
Taking the Next Step
Due to its substantial voice in the age 50 and over market, AARP is able to benefit its members via the collective voice and collective power of this large – and growing – market segment. Therefore, choosing AARP as one’s Medicare Supplement insurance provider can help to ensure that both the policy – and the organization endorsing it – are committed to providing the best benefits possible.
Owning a Medicare Supplement insurance policy through AARP can provide a number of other benefits as well, such as helping to pay for some – or all – of the health care expenses that are not covered by Medicare Part A or Part B. It can also help in limiting one’s overall annual out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Purchasing a policy is easy. Once you have determined the best Medicare Supplement policy for you – and you have obtained a quote – the next step is to complete an application for coverage. Given AARP’s strong reputation, along with its backing of excellent customer service, obtaining a Medicare Supplement insurance plan through this entity could just be the ideal choice for supplemental insurance needs.
By Susan Wright
About the author
Downtown Bellevue, just off I-405