If you have seen advertisements from United Healthcare extolling the virtues of AARP Medicare plans, you may be wondering about the different types of plans available.
If you are new to Medicare or would like to explore your options with AARP insurance Medicare plans it’s essential to understand the plan differences.
This article is intended to give you a high level overview of what type of AARP Medicare plans are available. There are three types of AARP insurance plans for Medicare beneficiaries.
- AARP Medicare supplements
- AARP Medicare Advantage Plans
- AARP Medicare Part D Plans
It’s important to note that AARP is not an insurance company. They lend their brand to insurance companies that they determine to have clients best interests at heart. AARP Medicare Plans are underwritten by United Healthcare. Just as AARP automobile insurance is underwritten by The Hartford and AARP life insurance is underwritten by New York Life.
AARP Medicare supplements offer flexibility
AARP Medicare supplements are standardized plans that pay your share of the costs for Medicare covered services. Medicare supplement plans are also referred to as Medigap policies. AARP Medicare supplemental insurance plans require a monthly premium and you must also continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium which is deducted from your Social Security check. AARP Medigap plan features include:
- Choose any provider that accepts Medicare.
- Medicare covered expenses paid are dependent on plan chosen.
- No benefit for non-Medicare expenses.
- Part D not included.
- AARP membership required.
Medicare supplement policies no longer include Part D coverage and the discount drug card included with AARP membership is not considered creditable coverage. Compare Part D plans with your budget and required prescriptions in mind.
Researching the Part D formulary is key to finding the right plan. The formulary will detail all medications included in the plan as well as what tier each drug is placed in.
Choose an AARP Medicare supplement if you like the freedom to choose any Medicare approved provider, and don’t want to be surprised with high out-of-pocket costs. This is a good option if the premiums for the supplement and Part D plans are affordable.
Exploring AARP Medicare Advantage
AARP Medicare Advantage Plans are plans where you receive your Medicare benefits from UnitedHealthcare, a private insurance company which is approved by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to administer your Medicare benefits. Advantage Plans are also referred to as Medicare Part C.
To enroll in an AARP Medicare Advantage Plan like Medicare Complete you must have have or be entitled to Medicare Parts A and B and live within the plan’s service area. You must also continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. AARP Medicare Advantage Plan features include:
- Network-based such as PPO, HMO or HMO-POS plans.
- Some plans allow out-of-network utilization.
- Cost sharing is in the form of copays and coinsurance.
- Plans often have low or $0 monthly premiums.
- Many include Medicare Rx coverage.
- Some non-Medicare services may be covered.
- AARP membership is not required.
When comparing Medicare Advantage plans pay particular attention to the plan’s Summary of Benefits, the Provider Directory and the Part D formulary. Keep in mind that the benefits for a plan can vary depending on where it is offered.
Choose an AARP Medicare Advantage Plan if you find the network agreeable, like the idea of a plan that includes Part D as well as extra benefits and the idea of a low or $0 premium is appealing.
Research the formulary when comparing AARP Part D
AARP Medicare Part D plans give you predictable coverage for required medications by offering plans with different Part D formularies to meet your needs. Part D plans are often referred to as Medicare Rx Plans. AARP Medicare drug plan features include:
- Specific formularies for your needs.
- No deductible plans available.
- Competitive copay structure.
- Accepted at over 65,000 pharmacies.
- Copays as low as $2
- Mail order pharmacy option.
You can choose an AARP Medicare Rx Plan as a stand-alone plan either with original Medicare or with a Medicare supplement. You are not required to have AARP insurance or AARP membership to enroll in an AARP Part D Plan.
If you chose a stand-alone plan, either to compliment original Medicare or a supplemental policy, you can choose either a basic plan or an enhanced plan. AARP Medicare Rx Preferred has a basic formulary and AARP Medicare Rx Enhanced has an expanded formulary.
Both AARP Medicare Advantage Plans and AARP Part D Plans are subject to enrollment periods and plans offer annual benefits with renewal required each year.
There are several sources of information online to dig deeper into specific types of AARP insurance. If you are interested in learning more about the differences between Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare supplements and would like to determine which is best for you, sign up for our free mini-course.