AARP Medicare Advantage 2024 Review

Backed by big hitter UnitedHealthcare, AARP Medicare Advantage plans have low-cost options and just-below-average star ratings.
Kate Ashford, CSA®
By Kate Ashford, CSA® 
Updated
Edited by Holly Carey

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AARP Medicare Advantage

AARP

3.87

CMS Star Rating

Backed by insurance heavyweight UnitedHealthcare, AARP plans are widely available with slightly-below-average star ratings.

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Speak to a licensed insurance agent on askchapter.org

GET A QUOTE

from askchapter.org

States available

48 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.12 (Average)


States available

48 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.12 (Average)


Pros

  • Backed by insurance giant UnitedHealthcare, which has the largest Medicare Advantage network of all providers.
  • Seven out of every 10 plans have a $0 premium.
  • Seven out of every 10 plans are rated 4 stars or higher.

Cons

  • Insurance partner UnitedHealthcare scores only about average for member experience, and just below the industry average on overall star ratings.

AARP 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.

AARP Medicare Advantage pros and cons

AARP’s Medicare Advantage offerings have advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

Cons

  • Average ratings: Member experience numbers for insurance partner UnitedHealthcare on metrics like care coordination and customer service are just average, and average star ratings, weighted by enrollment, land just below the average for all providers.

AARP Medicare Advantage star ratings

Average star rating, weighted by enrollment: 3.87

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 and weighted by enrollment, UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans, which include AARP plans, get an average rating of 3.87.

For comparison, the average star rating for plans from all providers in 2024 is 4.04

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 10.13.23 Fact Sheet - 2024 Medicare Advantage and Part D Ratings (PDF). Accessed Oct 24, 2023.
.

Of the AARP Medicare Advantage plans with star ratings in 2024, 29% are rated 4.5 and 43% are rated 4.0. The remainder received lower ratings.

You can find a plan’s rating with the Medicare plan finding tool.

What does AARP Medicare Advantage cost?

Costs for Medicare Advantage plans will depend on your plan, geographic location and health needs.

Premiums

One of the costs to consider is the plan’s premium. Three out of four AARP Medicare Advantage plans offer $0 premiums.

Even as a Medicare Advantage user, you’ll still be responsible for paying your Medicare Part B premium, which is $174.70 per month in 2024

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Costs. Accessed Oct 24, 2023.
. (Most people pay this standard amount, but if your income is above a certain threshold, you’ll pay more.)

Copays, coinsurance and deductibles

Requirements for copays, coinsurance and deductibles vary depending on your plan, location and the services you use. 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 whether the plan charges for them.

Here are examples of AARP Medicare Advantage costs for the most popular plans in a mid-range city:

UHC/AARP Medicare Advantage plan

Pricing

AARP Medicare Advantage from UHC KC-0004 (PPO)

Monthly premium: $0.

Out-of-pocket max: $3,700.

Copays:

  • Primary care: $0.

  • Specialist: $25.

  • Tier 1 prescription drugs: $0.

AARP Medicare Advantage Patriot No Rx KS-MA01 (PPO)

Monthly premium: $0.

Out-of-pocket max: $4,400.

Copays:

  • Primary care: $0.

  • Specialist: $40.

  • Tier 1 prescription drugs: N/A.

AARP Medicare Advantage from UHC KC-0002 (HMO-POS)

Monthly premium: $0.

Out-of-pocket max: $4,900.

Copays:

  • Primary care: $0.

  • Specialist: $40.

  • Tier 1 prescription drugs: $0.

Selected plans are available in ZIP code 66013.

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 Advantage plan types

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 (HMO) generally requires that you use a specific network of doctors and hospitals. You may need a referral from your primary doctor to see a specialist, and out-of-network benefits are usually limited.

Preferred provider organization (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.

AARP Medicare Advantage service area

AARP Medicare Advantage plans are available in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and more than 4.4 million people are enrolled in AARP plans

NerdWallet analysis of CMS Data. Monthly Enrollment by Contract. Accessed Oct 24, 2023.
.

Overall, UnitedHealthcare is the largest for-profit Medicare Advantage provider. More than 8.9 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan, and the company added more than 1.1 million members for the 2023 plan year

.

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.

Read the NerdWallet reviews of these other AARP/UnitedHealthcare offerings:

AARP 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 during the hours of operation listed.

  • Chat with a customer service agent online.

  • Call the number that loads on your AARP Medicare Plans page (based on location) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in your time zone, 7 days a week.

  • Connect with UnitedHealthcare on X, formerly known as Twitter or Facebook.

Medicare Advantage companies

Get more information below about some of the major Medicare Advantage companies. These insurance companies 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).
Frequently asked questions

AARP Medicare Advantage plans are insured by UnitedHealthcare, which is the largest Medicare Advantage provider in the country. AARP and UnitedHealthcare have a partnership that allows UnitedHealthcare to sell AARP-branded Medicare products.

Many of AARP’s Medicare Advantage plans have $0-monthly premiums. Of the plans that have premiums, the monthly consolidated premium (including Part C and Part D) ranges from $17 to $118. You may also be responsible for a deductible, copays and/or coinsurance when you seek medical care.

You’ll also be responsible for paying your Medicare Part B premium, which is $174.70 per month in 2024. If your income is above certain thresholds, you will pay more for Part B.

Original Medicare is a health insurance program run by the federal government, while AARP Medicare Advantage plans are maintained by a private insurance company (UnitedHealthcare). While members with Original Medicare can see any doctor in the U.S. that accepts Medicare, members of Medicare Advantage plans typically must seek medical care from providers and hospitals within the plan’s network.

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Advantage plans

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