An Overview of Medicare Supplemental Plans Available with AARP
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a non-profit organization that caters to retirees. Specifically, the AARP health insurance membership focuses on providing healthcare benefits at discounted rates from the best providers and insurance carriers. Note that the AARP is not an insurance provider but an intermediary service that connects retirees and seniors to resources for affordable healthcare. AARP health insurance is affiliated to several major providers. Once you are a member, all you have to do is log in and provide the ZIP code to narrow down the coverage options.
AARP health insurance
The nonprofit organization works in tandem with private insurance companies to offer its members a range of specially selected health insurance plans and fixed-cash hospital indemnity plans with low-cost insurance. AARP health insurance also offers a wide range of Medicarecomplete, MedicareRx, and Medicare supplement plans to help cover anything that is not part of your original healthcare plan. You will find comprehensive AARP Medicare plans for retirees above the age of 50 to avail premium healthcare at affordable prices.
What is Original Medicare?
Original Medicare consists of Part A that is hospital insurance. It provides cover for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility stays, hospice care, and also home health care. Part B covers ambulance services, clinical research, inpatient and outpatient mental health care, and outpatient prescription medicines.
Why take supplemental insurance?
Over and above the basic coverage, you must also make provision for deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance that provide cover for a selected criteria of expenses and facilities. This can be met by taking a Medicare Supplement Insurance, which is also referred to as a Medigap policy. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company’s affiliation with AARP health insurance gives you the advantage of a choice of plans, convenient claims process, no network restrictions, and value for money while purchasing private insurance to supplement Original Medicare.
Eligibility criteria for supplemental insurance
After you turn 65 and have already enrolled for Original Medicare, you will be eligible to enroll for AARP health insurance plans that offer dedicated supplemental cover for additional expenses.
Applicants younger than 65 with a qualifying disability are also eligible in some states. In these states, applicants diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), alternatively known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease may also qualify.
Important points concerning AARP supplemental plans
- Original Medicare
Enrolling for Parts A and B of the Original Medicare is necessary for you to opt for a Medigap policy. Also, note that the supplement plans are completely different from Medicare Advantage Plans, which provide additional benefits.
- Policy coverage
Medigap provided by a private insurer will cover only one person. If you and your spouse both need coverage, a separate policy must be taken to supplement the original AARP health insurance or Medicare available with other insurance companies. However, Medigap policies do not cover vision care, dental care, private duty nursing, hearing aids, or long-term care.
- Lifetime coverage
Supplemental plans by AARP offer guaranteed lifetime coverage irrespective of your age or health condition. Besides, you can choose from several standardized plans after considering your medical needs and the costs involved.
- Standard plans across companies
The AARP health insurance coverage is the same as that of all the other private supplemental insurance providers. The only difference is the additional benefits over and above the standard coverage, and some perks and benefits like better customer service.
- Doctor visits
Medicare supplement plans don’t impose any network restrictions, allowing you to visit a doctor or specialist of your choice, as long as they accept patients who are covered under AARP Medicare plans.
- Insured across the country
The AARP supplemental health insurance is valid across all 50 states. Wherever you plan to travel, your coverage will follow. Some plans also provide foreign travel emergency medical care.
Basic vs Extended Basic Plan
AARP health insurance, in association with UnitedHealthcare, offers a Basic and an Extended Basic Plan to cover the following expenses for you and your immediate family who require supplemental care:
- Part A hospitalization co-insurance for an unlimited number of days even after Original Medicare has ended
- Part B medical co-insurance and co-payments
- The first 3 pints of blood each year; note that Medicare will cover the costs for blood after the first three pints
- Hospice care co-insurance
- Skilled nursing facility care co-insurance
- Home health care services and medical supplies
- The basic plan covers 80% of the expenses for foreign travel emergency care during the first 60 days of a trip
- Additionally, the extended plan provides coverage for Part A deductibles and Part B annual deductibles
Medigap in the states of Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin
The supplemental insurance policies are different in three states as they don’t cover the aspects of Part A and B that are not included in the basic benefits. Here, the basic benefits will also vary depending on the state. You can compare the policies available on the official website of Medicare and then choose from one of AARP’s providers.
Coverage for medications
Medigap may offer comprehensive coverage over and above your Original AARP Medicare plans, but it still doesn’t cover the cost of certain medications for treatment. You have the option of subscribing for a prescription coverage with Medicare Part D to provide cover for medications not included in Part A, B, and C.