AARP Medicare Advantage Plans: Basic Information and Benefits

Woman laughing and enjoying herself with an AARP logo next to her.

AARP stands for the American Association of Retired Persons. It is a non-profit organization that offers programs designed to help people who are 50 years old or older to be more informed and independent. In this article we will discuss AARP Medicare Advantage Plans.

While AARP does not offer insurance plans alone, it does offer plans through United Healthcare.

The AARP United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plans are a type of coverage that is designed to help people with Medicare pay for health care expenses, including prescriptions and doctors visits.

AARP offers a variety of different AARP United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plans to choose from based on your needs, so it’s important to learn about what each plan has to offer before you sign up.

In this article, we will discuss some basics about AARP Medicare Advantage plans – what they are, popular AARP plans offered by United Healthcare, monthly premiums and additional benefits – in order to give you an overview of what these types of insurance coverages can do for you!

Medicare Advantage Plans: An Overview

Medicare Advantage is also referred to as Medicare Part C. These plans bundle your benefits from Medicare Part A and B and offer additional benefits like dental, vision, hearing and prescription drug coverage. (It is important to note that not all Medicare Advantage plans offer drug coverage.)

If a Medicare beneficiary enrolls in a Medicare Advantage plan, no additional plans are needed, unlike for those who choose to remain on Original Medicare and enroll in a Medigap policy. (These do not offer dental, vision, hearing or prescription drug coverage.)

Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

Each carrier of a Medicare Advantage plan will offer different types of plans. These come in five different forms.

Health Maintenance Organization Plans (HMO)

HMOs are managed care health insurance plans. This means they offer a premiums at a lower cost and still offering quality care. They afford this by enrolling a network of providers who agree to accept one payment for all services.

Preferred Provider Organization Plans (PPO)

Like HMOs, PPOs are also managed care plans that have a network of providers their members can choose from. Utilizing a provider in the PPO network decreases the member’s cost for services. Going outside of the network for care will increase the member’s out-of-pocket expenses.

Private Fee-for-Service Plans (PFFS)

PFFS Medicare Advantage plans decide how much to pay providers who are contracted with private insurance companies who accept Medicare assignment. These plans also decide the member’s out-of-pocket costs, which can vary based on both the provider and the specific plan.

Special Needs Plans (SNP)

SNPs are tailored for individuals with specific diseases. This includes diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, dementia and many others. SNPs are also available for individuals living in nursing homes or who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Medical Savings Account Plans (MSA)

You are likely familiar with HSAs – Health Savings Accounts. These accounts are for individuals who have high-deductible health insurance plans. Those individuals can contribute pre-tax dollars to a Health Savings Account and can use the money as needed for qualified healthcare expenses.

An MSA is similar to an HSA but is only available to those with high-deductible Medicare Advantage plans. MSA plans deposit money into the member’s Medical Savings Account. This money is available for the member to use on healthcare costs before meeting the plan’s deductible.

Each of these types of Part C plans may also offer prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage are commonly referred to as MAPDs.

senior couple using laptop at home as they look up AARP Medicare Advantage Plans.
An MSA is similar to an HSA but is only available to those with high-deductible Medicare Advantage plans.

AARP United Healthcare Medicare Advantage Benefits

These are some of the common benefits enjoyed by those who choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan through AARP United Healthcare.

$0 Copays for Doctor Visits

Members will have no copay due for primary care visits and lab tests and also enjoy rewards for receiving preventive care.

$0 Copays for Prescription Drugs

Members will have no copay due for most prescription medications. They will also receive $150 worth of free health and wellness items.

Vision Care

Members receive free eye exams annually, free frames, and free prescription-strength lenses.

Dental Care

Members will have no copay for preventive dental services in most plans within the plan’s network. United Healthcare has the largest Medicare dental network in the United States.

Hearing Care

Members will receive free hearing exams and save hundreds of dollars on hearing aids.

Telehealth Visits

Members will have no copay when speaking to a healthcare provider virtually. These visits are available 24/7 and have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Fitness Benefits

Members enjoy a free gym membership in one of the network’s fitness locations, scattered across the country.

Large Network

United Healthcare is the largest Medicare Advantage network, so members can expect coverage in most areas across the United States.