at a glance
- AARP offers Medicare Advantage plans with benefits like vision, dental, and preventive care.
- Although AARP offers plans in every state, you’ll need to check which ones are available in your area.
- AARP and UnitedHealthcare offer traditional Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) options, as well as Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) and Special Needs Plans (SNPs).
- AARP serves nearly 38 million members and has partnered with UnitedHealthcare to provide these Medicare Advantage plans.
The American Association of Retired People (AARP) is an advocacy group that offers special benefits to its members. For example, AARP partners with UnitedHealthcare to offer Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans to members who are eligible to enroll in Medicare.
In this article, we’ll go over where these plans are sold, what benefits come with different types of plans, and what your potential costs may be.
Each plan that AARP offers comes with different costs and benefits. Review the benefit summaries and plan documents carefully before you enroll in a plan.
Next, we’ll take a closer look at each type of AARP Medicare Advantage plan.
AARP HMO plans
AARP Medicare Advantage offers a range of Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans.
With an HMO, you must choose a primary care physician from the plan’s physician directory. This provider will be the point person for most of your care. If you have to see a specialist, you’ll usually need a referral from your primary care doctor.
Most AARP Medicare Advantage plans have a few exceptions to this rule. If you need flu shots, vaccines, or preventive women’s healthcare services, you may receive them from a specialist without a referral.
In an AARP Medicare Advantage HMO, your plan doesn’t cover medical care from out-of-network healthcare providers unless:
- it’s an emergency
- Medicare requires the plan to cover the care you need, but there are no providers who offer that care in your network
- you need dialysis and you’re traveling outside the plan’s service area
AARP HMO D-SNP plans
AARP Medicare Advantage offers HMO Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) in many locations. These plans are specially designed for people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Most HMO D-SNPs have no premiums, deductibles, or copays. They offer several important benefits, such as:
- $350 quarterly credit for over-the-counter medical supplies and approved wellness products
- 60 one-way trips to healthcare providers per year
- a personal emergency device
- renew Active fitness memberships
- 20 chiropractic or acupuncture visits per year
- eye exams and eyewear
- hearing aids
- no-cost or low-cost prescription drugs
- routine or comprehensive dental care
- virtual health visits (telehealth)
AARP PPO plans
AARP Medicare Advantage offers Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans in many of its markets.
With a PPO, you have a bit of freedom to choose from among healthcare providers who are either in the plan’s preferred network or outside the network.
Keep in mind, though, that costs are much lower if you use an in-network provider.
Another perk of a PPO is that you usually won’t need a referral from your primary care provider if you need to see a specialist.
AARP PFFS plans
AARP also offers Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plans in its some of its service areas. PFFS plans operate differently than ordinary Part C plans.
Your insurer sets the amount it will pay for each medical service — but if your healthcare provider doesn’t accept the set fee, they don’t have to treat you. That means your doctor has the option of providing some services to you and not others.
Medicare Advantage PFFS plans still cover the same care covered by original Medicare. And because they’re Part C plans, they also offer extra benefits, though these vary from plan to plan.
With most PFFS plans, you can see any Medicare-approved doctor. You won’t need to choose a primary care provider or get a referral to see a specialist.
Two final things to note: PFFS plans aren’t offered in all areas, and premiums are sometimes higher than with other plans.
- AARP MedicareRx Walgreens. This plan has low premiums and additional savings if prescriptions are filled at Walgreens or Duane Reade locations.
- AARP MedicareRx Preferred. This Part D plan offers a wide network of pharmacies and a low deductible.
- AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus. This plan has a wide network of pharmacies and low premiums.
Many of AARP’s Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage as part of their benefits package. If you’d like this coverage bundled into your Medicare Advantage plan, you can select this option when searching from plans in your area.
AARP and UnitedHealthcare offer Medicare Advantage plans nationwide. But not all of their plans may be available where you live, and costs may vary based on your location.
AARP Medicare Advantage plans cover the same basic services offered by Medicare Part A and Part B (together referred to as original Medicare). Many of these plans also cover:
- preventive or comprehensive dental care
- eye exams and glasses or contact lenses
- hearing aids
- fitness programs or gym memberships
- annual physical examinations
- flu shots and other vaccines
- telehealth (virtual visits)
- 24-hour nurse hotline
In addition to the standard hospital and outpatient medical care that’s covered because Advantage plans must match original Medicare coverage, you’ll get some extra benefits, like those listed above. Along with this extra coverage, some plans include alternative health services, such as chiropractic care and acupuncture.
To find out which benefits are included in your plan, read the plan documents carefully before you enroll.
Your costs and benefits will vary from plan to plan, so be sure to review the plan documents as you consider which plan will best fit your healthcare needs and your budget.
Here are some examples of AARP Medicare Advantage plan options in 2021:
|Atlanta, GA: AARP Medicare Advantage Walgreens (HMO)||Phoenix, AZ: AARP Medicare Advantage Plan 1 (HMO)||Orlando, FL: AARP Medicare Advantage Choice (PPO)||Chicago, IL: AARP Medicare Advantage Walgreens (PPO)||New York, NY: AARP Medicare Advantage Prime (HMO)|
|Premium with drug coverage (monthly)||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Health plan deductible (annual)||$0||$0||$0||$0||$500|
|Drug plan deductible (annual)||$275||$150||$150||$250||$295|
|Out-of-pocket max (in network)||$6,700||$3,900||$5,900 in network; $10,000 combined in and out of network||$5,900 in network; $6,700 in and out of network||$6,700|
|Primary care provider visit copay||$15||$5||$5 in network; $45 out of network||$0 in network/ $35 out of network||$10|
|Specialist visit copay||$50 in network per visit|
|$35||$35 in network; $70 out of network||$45 in network/;$55 out of network with approval||$40|
Medicare Advantage (Part C) is a type of health insurance plan offered by private insurance companies. The federal government requires them to provide the same basic level coverage as original Medicare (Part A and Part B).
These plans usually provide some extra coverage benefits, which will vary according to the specific plan.
Not every company that sells Medicare Advantage plans will offer coverage in every state. To compare plans in your specific area, you can use Medicare’s plan finder tool to find the plan that best meets your needs.
AARP and UnitedHealthcare have partnered to offer Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans. Like other Medicare Advantage products, these plans offer the same basic coverage as original Medicare plans but with additional benefits like vision, dental, and preventive care services.
In 2021, AARP offers HMO, HMO D-SNP, PPO, and PFFS plan options. Although plans from AARP are available nationwide, check the AARP website or use the Medicare plan finder tool to find out which plans are available where you live.