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AARP aims to enrich people's lives as they get older, offering benefits like travel and restaurant discounts, and advice on health and retirement. The group also has partnered with UnitedHealthcare to offer Medicare Advantage plans to people who are eligible for Medicare.
AARP’s Medicare Advantage plans are insured by UnitedHealthcare — the largest Medicare Advantage provider in the country — and offer several benefits that aren’t available in Original Medicare, such as preventive dental care, vision care and hearing exams.
Here’s what you should know about AARP Medicare Advantage.
Why you might choose AARP Medicare Advantage
AARP’s Medicare offerings have strong pros:
Low cost: About 7 out of 10 AARP Medicare Advantage plans offer a $0 premium.
Available AARP Medicare Advantage plans
AARP Medicare Advantage plans vary in terms of structure, costs and benefits available. The company offers HMO and PPO plans, as well as stand-alone prescription drug plans.
Available Part D prescription drug plans
While many of AARP's Medicare Advantage plans include Part D drug coverage, the company also sells stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans. AARP offers prescription drug plans in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., as well as several U.S. territories. These plans are meant to accompany Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B and don't provide medical coverage.
AARP and UnitedHealthcare offer drug coverage through AARP MedicareRx plans. These plans include commonly used generic and brand name prescription drugs, but different plans offer different kinds of coverage. AARP offers three Part D plan options:
AARP MedicareRx Preferred: Offers a broad range of pharmacy network options and includes most generic and commonly used brand name drugs covered by Medicare Part D. Also includes insulin copays for $35 or less, $0 deductible across all drug tiers (excluding U.S. territories) and $0 copay for a three-month supply of Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs with OptumRx home delivery. Premiums are highest with this plan.
AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus: Covers most commonly used generic drugs, offers lower premiums and is better for people who don’t currently take many prescriptions. Includes $1 copay for Tier 1 drugs through the Preferred Retail Pharmacy Network.
AARP MedicareRx Walgreens: Offers lower monthly premiums and the option to fill prescriptions at Walgreens. There’s a $0 copay and $0 annual deductible for Tier 1 drugs.
Fitness benefits: Many plans include the Renew Active fitness program, which gives members access to a large network of gyms and fitness facilities, as well as local classes and events. Members can also access a library of online workout videos and an online brain health program from AARP Staying Sharp.
Health management: Some plans include mail-based programs that give members guidelines for staying healthy and avoiding disease.
Telehealth: Plans offer $0 copays for telehealth visits for non-emergency medical or general mental health issues.
AARP Medicare Advantage members can contact their plan’s customer service (managed by UnitedHealthcare) in the following ways:
Call the number on their member ID card, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week.
Chat with a customer service agent.
Call 800-721-0627 (TTY: 711) for website-related technical issues 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time, Monday to Friday.
AARP service area
AARP Medicare Advantage plans are available in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and about 3.7 million people are enrolled in AARP plans as of December 2021.
Overall, UnitedHealthcare is the largest health insurer in the country by market share , and it's the largest among for-profit health plans . More than 7.3 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan, and the company added 827,000 new members for the 2021 plan year.
Costs for Medicare Advantage plans will depend on your plan, your geographic location and your health needs. One of the costs to consider is the plan’s premium. About 7 out of 10 of AARP’s Medicare Advantage plans offer $0 premiums. Of AARP plans that have a premium, the monthly consolidated premium (including Part C and Part D) ranges from $9 to $112.
Even as a Medicare Advantage user, you’ll still be responsible for paying your Medicare Part B premium, which is $170.10 in 2022. (Most people pay this standard amount, but if your income is above a certain threshold, you’ll pay more.)
Other out-of-pocket costs to consider include:
Whether the plan covers any part of your monthly Medicare Part B premium.
The plan’s yearly deductibles and any other deductibles, such as a drug deductible.
Copayments and/or coinsurance for each visit or service. For instance, there may be a $10 copay for seeing your primary doctor and a $45 copay for seeing a specialist.
The plan’s in-network and out-of-network out-of-pocket maximums.
Whether your medical providers are in-network or out-of-network, or how often you may go out of network for care.
Whether you require extra benefits, and if the plan charges for them.
To get a sense of costs, use Medicare’s website to compare information among available plans in your area. You can select by insurance carrier to see only UnitedHealthcare plans, or compare across carriers. You can also shop directly from UnitedHealthcare’s website by entering your ZIP code, and you’ll be able to compare the plans available.
AARP Medicare star ratings
Average star rating: 4.2
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services maintains its own database of star ratings on every Medicare Advantage and separate Medicare Part D plan, ranging from best (5 stars) to worst (1 star). The agency bases these ratings on plans’ quality of care and measurements of customer satisfaction, and ratings may change from year to year.
Based on the most recent year of data, AARP Medicare Advantage plans get an average rating of 4.2, which is the same average as UnitedHealthcare’s plans overall . For comparison, the average star rating for plans from all providers in 2022 is 4.37 .
Of the AARP Medicare Advantage plans with star ratings in 2022, 22% are rated 5 out of 5, 14% are rated 4.5 and 54% are rated 4.0. The remainder received 3.5 stars out of 5.
You can find a plan’s rating with the Medicare plan finding tool.
Medicare Advantage providers
Get more information below about some of the major Medicare Advantage providers. These insurers offer plans in most states. The plans you can choose from will depend on your ZIP code and county.
Find the right Medicare Advantage plan
It’s important to do your research before selecting a health plan. Here are some questions to consider:
What are the plan’s costs? Do you understand what the plan’s premium, deductibles, copays and/or coinsurance will be? Can you afford them?
Is your doctor in-network? If you have a preferred medical provider or providers, make sure they participate in the plan’s network.
Are your prescriptions covered? If you’re on medication, it’s crucial to understand how the plan covers it. What tier are your prescription drugs on, and are there any coverage rules that apply to them?
Is there dental coverage? Does the plan offer routine coverage for vision, dental and hearing needs?
Are there extras? Does the plan offer any extra benefits, such as fitness memberships, transportation benefits or meal delivery?
If you have additional questions about Medicare, visit Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY 877-486-2048).