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%.
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.