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AARP Medicare Advantage – Five Facts

Red Number FiveDon’t enroll AARP Medicare Advantage until you know these five facts

If you are considering enrolling in a Medicare plan you have surely heard about AARP plans insured through United Healthcare .

The AARP name recognition has helped to make plans like MedicareComplete a household. But the reputation alone is not good enough reason to sign up for a Medicare plan.

Understanding the following five facts will give you a good overview of AARP Medicare Advantage plans and allow you to determine if one of these plan’s is right for you.

Five facts – AARP Medicare plans from United Healthcare

1. United Healthcare is the insurance company behind AARP Medicare plans.  AARP is not an insurance company and they do not sell insurance policies.

Similarly, there is also AARP branded life insurance and automobile insurance offered by New York Life and The Hartford respectively.

Beyond name recognition the main benefit of  having an AARP branded Medicare plan is that AARP will generally hold the insurance company to a high level of customer service.

Both AARP and United Healthcare have a lot to lose if there is a perception of low quality of customer service.

2. There are two types of AARP Medicare plans: Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare supplement insurance. Medicare Advantage plans are not Medicare supplement policies.

Nationally the most popular Medicare Advantage Plan is AARP MedicareComplete Insured Through United Healthcare.

Medicare Advantage Plans are popular for several reasons including:

  • Low or $0 monthly premium
  • Part D drug coverage is often included
  • Plans include extras like; dental, vision, hearing and gym memberships

Medicare Advantage Plans are offered County by County and not all Medicare Advantage plans may be available. Advantage Plans also often require that you utilize network providers. Visit www.medicare.gov to check for available plans in your area.

3. Like all Medicare Advantage plans, AARP Advantage plans can change benefits, premiums and have changes to their provider network annually. It’s also possible that a medicare Advantage plan would not renew coverage for the following year.

A Medicare Advantage plan is offered by an insurance company which is approved and contracted by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to administer your Medicare. Unlike a supplement a Medicare Advantage Plan will will generally require deductibles, coinsurance and co-pays for services.

4. AARP Medicare Advantage Plans are subject to strict enrollment periods.  You can enroll in a AARP Medicare Advantage plan from three months before the month you turn 65, the month you turn 65 and the three months after you turn 65. Note that this is different than the open enrollment period for Medigap.

If you are already enrolled in Medicare your opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or change Advantage plans is during the Annual Enrollment Period . The enrollment period for begins October 15th and ends December 7th. Plans will become effective on January 1st.

There are also Special Enrollment Periods that are triggered when you have some change of status, such as employment group insurance ending, moving to another service area and several others.

5. Unlike an AARP Medicare Supplement policy, AARP Advantage Plans are subject to specific rules set by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that govern all Medicare Advantage Plans.

Advantage plans specific requirements for coverage and have certain feature such as maximum allowable out-of-pocket costs that are universal among all plans.


Enrolling in an AARP Medicare Advantage plan

If you have decided that an Advantage plan is the right choice and you would like to enroll in a AARP Medicare Advantage plan from United Healthcare you have several methods available. You can enroll:

  • By meeting with a licensed insurance agent
  • Mail an enrollment form to United Healthcare
  • Enroll by telephone
  • Submit an application online

More people are taking advantage of online enrollment because of the convenience. However if you are reluctant to enter your personal information online you can speak to an agent by calling (888) 310-0376.

8 comments

  1. How do I know if plan includes the Silver sneakers program?

  2. Trudy, Visit http://www.aarpmedicareplans.com and enter your zip code to find plans in your area. Once you find available plans choose the Summary of Benefits link to see all plan benefits for the Secure Horizons plan including Silver Sneakers. If you are interested in finding all plans available in your area visit http://www.medicare.gov to search for plans by zip code. You can then visit each plan’s website where you would be able to access the Summary of Benefits.

  3. I was wondering is there a site that I can go to that have a printable form for a change of address for secure horizons.

  4. I retire 3/1/12 and I am already enrolled in Medicare starting that date (A&B). I want to enroll in Secure Horizons starting 3/1/12. Since I am still working, can I do a pre-enrollment for 3/1/12 now?

  5. Glenys, As long as you are enrolled in both Parts A and B, live within the plan’s service area and do not have end-stage renal disease you can submit an application up to 60 prior to the 1st day of your birth month. Short answer… yes.

  6. Kellie, I’m not sure if you can print a form but here is the UnitedHealthCare website. There is a Contact Us link at the bottom of the page.

  7. My husband who had recently suffered a stroke and a heart attack signed up again with this plan despite the fact that he has end stage renal failure and was undergoing dialysis three times a week…Now he has had another stroke and an MI and now he is staying in a nursing home recovering and I am stuck paying all of the medical bills that this horrible plan has not paid.

    Do I have any recourse since he apparently was not “in his right mind” when he signed up with this program and he was advised by one of UHC’s agents that this was definitely the best plan for him despite undergoing thrice a week dialysis, 2 heart attacks, 2 strokes and loss of oxygen to his brain?

    I was named his POA for financial and health.

    I was also laid off from my job in Sept. 2011.

  8. SW, Yes, file a complaint with Medicare or speak with your local Area Council on Aging office to help you.

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