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AARP Medicare Supplement VS AARP Medicare Advantage Plan

Senior Couple with Arms Raised to SkyAARP Medicare Plans: MedicareComplete or an AARP Medicare supplement?

The word is out. It just doesn’t make sense to enroll in Medicare and not seek additional coverage. Whether you choose a Medicare Advantage Plan or go with a stand alone Part D Drug Plan and a Medicare Supplement, AARP Medicare Plans are worth taking a look at.

Original Medicare entails too much financial responsibility for most people.  Medicare was never intended to provide 100% protection from financial exposure due to health related claims, but rather a safety net.

Medicare Part A offers protection from hospital stays, but your share of the cost is high.

  • 2013 Part A hospital deductible is $1184 (covers 1st 60 days).
  • 61st through 90th day requires a $296 per day co-pay.
  • 91st day and after (up to 60 reserve days) $592 per day co-pay.
  • Once lifetime reserve days are used, Medicare pays nothing.

Your responsibility for out-patient charges is also steep. Medicare covers 80% of allowable charges and you are responsible for 20% of the charges. Keep in mind that most medical procedures today are performed on an out-patient basis.

Pay me now or pay me later

AARP Medicare Plans are underwritten by United Healthcare and the Medicare Advantage Plans carry the Secured Horizons brand. Whether you are looking at AARP Medicare Complete or AARP Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage along with their Medicare supplement you certainly have some choice.

Pay me later!

The AARP Medicare Complete Advantage Plan by Secured Horizons is an affordable option for those people who either don’t want to pay a premium for a Medicare supplement or are not able to afford the premium. For instance, Medicare beneficiaries in Escambia County Florida, often choose the Medicare Complete Choice Plan 2 Regional PPO. This AARP Medicare Complete plan is available without a monthly premium and Part D coverage is included.

A Medicare Advantage Plan requires, in many instances, co-pays, deductibles and a defined level of cost sharing in general. So don’t pay to sign up, but share the cost later when service is required.

Pay me now!

When you enroll a stand alone AARP Medicare Part D Drug Plan and  purchase an AARP Medicare Supplement, you are paying up front to limit your liability. You will pay a monthly premium, in addition to maintaining your Medicare Part B premium.  AARP Part D Drug Plans work the same whether it is included in your Medicare Complete Plan or whether you are in a stand alone plan. You will have co-pays and be subject to the limits of coverage and have a list of included drugs, known as the formulary.

AARP Medicare Supplement insurance consists of standardized plans that offer varying degrees of coverage to fill in the gaps left by original Medicare. Medicare supplements are also known as Medigap insurance.

AARP Medicare Supplement Plan F has been by far the most popular plan that they offer. But the Medicare Modernization Act has created a new plan. AARP Medicare Supplement Plan N is expected to become quite popular.

Plan N is more affordable option and offers a small amount of cost sharing. For instance you may have a co-pay up to $20 for a doctor’s visit and up to $50 co-pay for an ER visit and be subject to the Part B deductible (currently $140).


AARP Medicare Plans are worth checking out

AARP puts their brand on many types of insurance. AARP could lose some of it’s good will if it chose the wrong partners. One thing they bring to the table is a higher level of customer service. The insurance companies that partner with AARP are held to a higher standard. This is good for the customer.

Don’t over look AARP Medicare Plans when deciding which Medicare supplement or Advantage plan to choose. If you are in the market for an Advantage Plan, definitely consider the AARP Medicare Complete Plan. There are 3 AARP Medicare Part D plans to choose from. Do your homework and get the best plan for your health and budget.


  1. Smith S Salisbury

    Just found out that as a direct result of HR3590, both my wife’s and my Medicare Advantage plans have been cancelled for 2011. I hope AARP is proud and pleased to have endorsed this bill so strongly. I greatly fear the health care costs for many, many seniors is going to increase VERY significantly in 2011. Even AARP’s own United Health Care, will not reveal what their Medicare Advantage Plans will be for 2011.
    I would love to hear AARP’S comments on this possibly disastrous situation.

  2. Smith, First, I’m sorry to hear that your 2011 plans are being non-renewed. Companies contract for one year at a time and unless CMS shuts them down, they are non-renewing not canceling. You were never promised a plan in perpetuity. I would also like to mention that I am not affiliated with AARP and do not speak for them. Medicare complete or any other Advantage plan for that matter, is not allowed under federal law to disclose/market plan design until October 1. I also know that their plans for 2011 have not yet been approved in many States. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be, it just means that they have been filled and and the States don’t often move quickly.

    I am not defending AARP’s political stance, nor an I their apologist. I am curious which plan that you have for 2010. I know that legislation (not HR3590) was passed and becomes effective January 1 2011 that makes it difficult for some companies to continue to offer PFFS plans. Companies that offer PFFS plans will also have to give those members access to a network. Several companies pulled out in 2010, just as Cigna announced that they would not offer their Cigna PFFS plan for 2011. This had nothing to do with the bill you referenced.

    Yes, I do agree that health care will become more costly, not just for seniors, but for everyone. Having a wife and three teenagers at home I’m just as frustrated as you are.

  3. I purchased an Aarp Medicare Complete PPO plan from United Health Care in Florida with Passport so I could use it in NY when I went north. Unfortunately, all the member service numbers don’t work when you in NY. The system sends you to Oxford in NY which cannot deal with a Fl contract. Try any other number and you get back to Oxford or disconnected. This is a real bummer. Should be some way United Health care can fix this.

  4. I’m sorry you encountered this problem. You should be able to use United Health Care Passport for your AARP Medicare Complete while in New York. If you enrolled through a local agent, I would start there. Often an agent can cut through the red tape at AARP and get the situation resolved. You could also call AARP member services and let them know that you have AARP Medicare Complete PPO in Florida and you are having a problem getting network provider listings in New York.

    AARP is all about customer service and will make sure that you have a satisfactory experience with United Health care and AARP Medicare Complete PPO. I’m sure there is an easy fix. Bringing this situation to someone’s attention is the first step.

  5. I have heard some PFFS plans are not renewing. In addition, if they are not renewing that I should have gotten a letter by Oct. 1st notifying me of their intent. I also heard that all plans for 2011 must be a PPO. This is for Indiana. I’m confused. What’s the scoop?

  6. Molly, It is true that some Medicare Advantage plans will not renew for 2011. If your Indiana Medicare Advantage plan is not renewing for 2011, you should have received notice by now. It’s not true that all plans must be a PPO plan. The confusion probably comes from legislation that affected PFFS plans. If there are at least two other network-based plans in a County, companies can still offer a PFFS plan, but must give members of that plan access to network providers. Depending on your County, you may find PFFS, PPO HMO, and HMO-POS Advantage plans available in Indiana.

  7. i need to know if this plan pays for novilog pens and lantus

  8. Valerie, AARP Medicare Complete will have different formularies depending on the service area. I am located in Florida and Novolog and Lantus are both covered tier 2 drugs. Both AARP Medicare RX Preferred and AARP Medicare RX Enhance cover them as well. The AARP Medicare supplemental coverage mentioned in the article does not include any drug coverage. Medicare supplements in general do not include drug coverage. If you purchase AARP Medicare supplement insurance you will need to get a stand-alone Part D plan.


  10. L Marosevitch, I’m not sure what type of therapist you are referring to. Visit and search for your plan. Once you find your plan search for the provider directory to locate the type of therapist you are looking for.

  11. How does the aarp medicare complete plus work if you have medicare part a and part b?

  12. Margie, Both Parts A and B are required to enroll in AARP MedicareComplete. You still pay your Part B premium and receive your benefits from MedicareComplete. Instead of paying Part A and B deductible and 20% coinsurance for outpatient services you have fixed expenses through the plan in the form of copays and coinsurance. Enter your email address in the web form at the top right of this page to receive my free mini-course. It should answer your questions about Medicare advantage plans.

  13. My opthamalogist informed me that aarp medicare was not paying specialist. Why not? If they are not paying their bills I need to get another policy.

  14. Norma, I’m not sure what type of AARP Medicare plan you have, but would recommend that you call the customer service number on your card to find out if the issue is with your plan or with the type of vision service that you have received. Medicare covers very little in the way of vision.

  15. David. I am 73 years old and in good health. I have a AARP Medicare Complete through United Health Care (peviously Secure Horizon) Please advise me on a supplemental policy. do I need one? I live on SS and a small retirement amt. I have less than $25.000 invested. I own my home and I own my 2007 Honda Accord. No debts. I can handle the co-pays but I am afraid that if I really got sick and put in the hospital that I might come out way in debt. Please give me some advise. I am not extremely smart so give it to me in simple language.

  16. Pat, You should speak with an agent licensed in your State to learn about your Medigap options. Before you jump ship on AARP MedicareComplete check your Summary of Benefits for your maximum out of pocket amount (MOOP). The maximum allowed by law is $6700. Your plan most likely has a lower limit than that. This is one feature of Medicare Advantage plans that is often overlooked. Even if you encountered extremely large medical charges, your liability is limited to the MOOP.

    If you do decide to look into a supplement, keep in mind that Plan F is the most comprehensive. Plan N is also a good option for someone who is relatively healthy and can handle a little extra cost-sharing. If you do move to a supplemental policy you will also need to enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan. Look at your potential premiums and compare that to the MOOP.

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