AARP Medicare Advantage 2022 Review

Backed by big-hitter UnitedHealthcare, AARP Medicare Advantage plans are highly rated with many low-cost options.
Jul 24, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

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 some coverage for 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:

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.

A health maintenance organization, or HMO, generally requires that you use a specific network of doctors and hospitals. You may need a referral from your primary doctor in order to see a specialist, and out-of-network benefits are usually very limited.

Preferred provider organization, or PPO, plans provide the most freedom, allowing you to see any provider that accepts the insurance. You may not need to choose a primary doctor, and you don’t need referrals to see specialists. You can seek out-of-network care, although it may cost more than seeing an in-network doctor.

Additional benefits

AARP Medicare Advantage offers most members access to dental care, eye exams and discounted hearing aids. Many of its plans offer other benefits, as well. Here are a few standouts:

  • 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.

Customer service

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.

  • Connect with UnitedHealthcare on Twitter or Facebook.

AARP service area

AARP Medicare Advantage plans are available in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and more than 4 million people are enrolled in AARP plans as of June 2022.

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 8 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan as of June 2022, and the company added 765,000 new members for the 2022 plan year.

Cost

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 per month 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 Medicare prescription drug 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.

All Medicare Advantage plans are evaluated on health plan measures, and Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage are also evaluated on drug plan measures.

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

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Part C and D Performance Data, 2022 Star Ratings Data Table (Oct 06 2021) (ZIP). Accessed Jul 18, 2022.
.

For comparison, the average star rating for plans from all providers in 2022 is 4.37

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Part C and D Performance Data, 2022 Star Ratings Fact Sheet_10_8_2021 (PDF). Accessed Jul 18, 2022.
.

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.

About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit interest group and advocacy organization. It advocates for local, state and national policies on behalf of older Americans. AARP members can access benefits through the organization, including discounts on products and services.

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).

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.