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Medicare And AARP Medigap – Better Than MedicareComplete?

Medicare and AARP Medigap insurance delivers on Medicare covered expensesMedicare and Social Security Card in Wallet

Both AARP Medigap policies and AARP Medicare Advantage Plans like MedicareComplete are available from UnitedHealthcare.

The differences between these coverage options is quite significant. But if you want to fill in the gaps and have a little more certainty about you out-of-pocket expenses, a Medigap policy from AARP United Healthcaremay be your better choice.

If you like a plan that includes your medical and Part D coverage in one and don’t want the monthly premium, take a look at AARP MedicareComplete Insured Through United Healthcare.

AARP and Medicare options explained

Medicare is pretty straight forward. People who have worked and paid Medicare taxes for forty quarters in their lifetime qualify for Medicare Part A. Part A is the hospital coverage portion of Medicare health insurance it  requires an initial deductible and co-payments for extended hospital stays.

Medicare Part B must be elected and paid for through Social Security income deductions. Part B provides outpatient benefits, requires an annual deductible and coinsurance in the amount of 20%.

There are gaps in Medicare. First, as noted above Medicare does not pay 100% of covered expenses. Also, many ancillary services like dental, hearing and vision are lacking in original Medicare.

Medicare and AARP Medigap insurance closes the financial gaps but does not address the ancillary benefits. Medigap policies also known as Medicare supplements or supplemental Medicare coverage are standardized plans that (depending on the plan) pay the costs of Medicare covered expenses that would normally be your responsibility.

Medicare supplement Plan F is the most comprehensive and also requires the highest monthly premium. Like all Medigap policies AARP Medicare supplemental insurance does not include any prescription drug benefits. Medicare Part D must be purchased separately. If you are considering an AARP Medicare RX Plan you will have more than one plan to choose from.

AARP Medicare Advantage Plans are sometimes referred to as Medicare replacement plans though this can be somewhat misleading. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan you are still enrolled in Medicare. You are merely receiving your Medicare benefits from a private insurance company like United Health Care which is contracted by CMS to provide your Medicare benefits.

Advantage Plans often require that you utilize network providers, whether you are in a Medicare HMO or Medicare PPO plan. Medicare Advantage Plans (AKA Medicare Part C) are not Medicare supplements and most include the Part D drug benefit.

With an Advantage Plan the financial gaps are not filled in the same way as with a Medigap policy. But rather you will have predictable costs in the form of co-pays and coinsurance.

Many AARP Medicare Advantage Plans include extra benefits such as dental, hearing and vision not included in supplemental plans. An Advantage Plan often has a low or $0 monthly premium.

Choosing between AARP Medigap or AARP MedicareComplete

Here are typical profiles of people who would choose one plan over the other:

AARP Medicare supplement

  • You can afford the monthly premium.
  • You like the peace of mind that your share of expenses will be paid.
  • You want to use any provider who accepts Medicare.
  • The idea of shopping between standardized plans is appealing.
  • You don’t want the hassle of annual enrollment periods.
  • You like the freedom to choose from several Part D plans.

AARP Medicare Advantage Plan

  • You have a limited budget or like the low monthly premiums.
  • Knowing that you will only pay a copay or coinsurance is appealing.
  • You are satisfied with the Advantage Plan’s network of providers.
  • You like the option that you can change plans annually.
  • Having your Medical and prescription coverage in one plan is positive.
  • You enjoy having the extra benefits not normally included in Medicare.

Whether you choose Medicare and AARP Medigap insurance or an AARP Medicare Advantage Plan you are in good company. United Healthcare is currently the largest provider of Advantage plans nationally and their medicare supplements are often some of the most competitively priced.

Shopping for an enrolling in an AARP Medicare Plan can often be accomplished online with little hassle.


  1. I have been trying to enroll online to no avail. When I called their 800 number, I was told that FL residents could not enroll online for a supplement plan….but I was able to enroll for my drug plan online with another company.

    Please clarify…thanks again for all you do.
    Levy County, FL

  2. Helen, Different companies have different policies related to enrollment and supplements are governed differently that Part D plans. Call the 800 number and let them know you would like to enroll and they will accommodate.

  3. I have straight medicare and considering a medicare advantage plan, however, I want to keep my exisiting doctors.

  4. Jesus, Review the provider directory for any plan you are considering. Also, if you enroll in a PPO you can go out of network for a little extra out of pocket.

  5. My mom has the AARP MedicareComplete Choice Plan 2. She has just gone to an assisted living care home for deminitia. Can
    you tell me what assistance she has with this plan and how I
    Thank you

  6. Debbie, I’m not completely sure I understand your question. If you are asking if she has some benefit to help pay for the facility you are going to be disappointed. Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans like AARP MedicareComplete Choice plan 2 do not offer coverage for institutional care. Short term skilled nursing care is generally covered after a hospital stay, but it sounds as though this is not your Mon’s situation. Long tern care insurance is the product to cover this type of confinement. Long term care is best purchased (if affordable) when you are in your late 50’s or early 60’s and medical underwriting is required. Unfortunately, at this time your Mom will not qualify.

    Because your Mon is in a nursing home, she is entitled to a Special Enrollment Period. I mention this because she may have Special Needs Plans available, that as a Medicare Advantage plan, may be more suitable for her situation. These plans do a good job of coordinating care and often can save you some money over a traditional medicare Advantage plan.

  7. Thanks for your GREAT webpage…..I enrolled in AARP United HealthCare Medicare supplement Plan F last year in Feb. In April of this year I was in a serious accident….was Air Lifted to the hospital. I spent 11 days in the Trauma Unit. I am fine now. Without Medicare and my supplement, my bill would have been over $140,000. Medicare and United HealthCare paid like clockwork…in FULL. Your advise helped me make well informed choices.

  8. Helen, that must have been frightening, I’m glad to hear you are fine now. Thanks for the kind words.


  10. Ruth, If you want to go to any doctor, you’re better off with a Medicare supplement. MedicareComplete will require that you use a network of providers. As for Part D… most plans include most pharmacies that you have available.

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