If you are considering buying one of the AARP Medicare supplements available there are certain facts you should be familiar with before you sign on the dotted line.
This unbiased information is provided so you can do your homework and feel comfortable with your decision if you should choose to purchase an AARP Medicare supplemental policy.
Before we jump into the top three things you should know that AARP is not the insurance company. AARP Medicare supplements are underwritten by United Healthcare. They are one of the largest providers of Medicare supplements also known as Medigap policies in the United States. United HealthCare is also currently the largest provider of Medicare Advantage Plans like AARP Medicare Complete.
Top three points
The first thing you should know about AARP Medicare supplement policies is that they are, like all Medigap policies, standardized plans. Currently Medicare supplement plans are labeled as plans: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. Not all insurance companies offer every plan. But if you are comparing AARP Medicare supplement Plan F to other company’s Plan F you will be comparing identical benefits.
Standardization of Medicare supplement plans makes it easy to compare several companies to pursue your best option. Price is not the only consideration when comparing Medicare gap insurance. Other things to consider include:
- The financial stability and rating of the insurance company
- Past rate stability
- Ease of enrollment and level of customer service
- Discounts for bank draft or multiple policy holders in household
- Underwriting concerns if not in open enrollment
- Any additional benefits like discounts on vision
Comparing several companies to get the best Medicare supplement policy for you needs it very important. It should be noted that you must be an AARP member to purchase an AARP policy. This is a small price to pay in return for the extra discounts on health related purchases.
Secondly, it’s important not to confuse an AARP Medicare supplement with an AARP Medicare Advantage Plan. The technical term for a supplement is Medigap. Many people also refer to a supplement as Medicare gap insurance because it fill the gap for Medicare covered expenses.
What a supplemental Medicare policy will not do is offer coverage beyond what original Medicare covers. The supplement is designed (depending on the plan) to pick up what would normally be your portion of Medicare covered expenses.
A Medicare Advantage Plan like Secure Horizons Medicare Complete is not a supplement and cannot be referred to as a Medigap policy. These types of plans may offer benefits beyond what original Medicare covers such as dental, vision, hearing and sometimes gym memberships.
The final thing that you should know is that all Medigap policies including AARP Medicare supplements do not include prescription drug coverage. Part D coverage must be obtained separately. You must factor the Part D monthly premium into you decision. But once again a low premium is not necessarily the only or the best thing to base your decision on. Other things to consider include:
- The plan’s formulary or list of covered drugs
- Whether an annual deductible is required
- Copay amount
- Pharmacy network
- Access to a mail order pharmacy
It’s important to note that unlike an AARP Medicare supplement you will be subject to specific enrollment periods for Part D plans. When searching for Part D coverage the biggest consideration should be the plan formulary.
The AARP formulary is comprehensive and worth a look.
Finding Medigap policies
Shopping for the right Medicare supplemental plan is easy if your remember these three things:
- All Medigap plans are standardized
- Be certain to compare supplements to supplements not Advantage Plans
- Remembering that Part D must be purchased separately.
Because plans are standardized most people do their research and purchase online. But if you don’t want to give your information online, you can speak with an agent by calling (888) 310-0376 to compare rates from several companies. AARP Medicare supplements are popular, but just to be certain it’s smart to look at several companies as well.