AARP, or the American Association of Retired Persons, is a “nonprofit, nonpartisan, social welfare organization” for members over the age of 50. Their focus on social reform that benefits the elderly revolves around secure employment and income, protecting against financial abuses, and providing health care. With an estimated 38 million members, AARP is one of the largest membership organizations in America.
One of the benefits offered to members of AARP is access to health insurance, either through Medicare or partnerships with companies like United Healthcare, Delta Dental, HearUSA, and a variety of Vision Care providers, among other partners. While AARP doesn’t administer these benefits, they do offer negotiated rates and facilitate enrollment for members.
As with any organization involved in healthcare, AARP was affected by the passage of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If you’re interested in understanding the benefits associated with AARP health insurance, you need to understand what it is and how it may have changed under Obamacare.
What Role Does AARP Play in Healthcare?
AARP has long had an interest in the development of healthcare policy, especially as it affects the elderly. Because the organization represents many millions of Americans through their membership, AARP has been in a unique position to influence policy over the past several decades.
This influence helped to ensure the passage of congressional acts that led to Medicare Part D in 2003 and stopped changes to Social Security. AARP was also a major supporter of the ACA and may have contributed to its passage.
It’s no surprise that the AARP wanted Obamacare to pass. The ACA aimed to provide affordable health insurance coverage to uninsured Americans. This group included many elderly citizens with low income and preexisting conditions that made it difficult for them to gain affordable coverage.
In addition, the ACA encouraged states to add funding to programs like Medicare and Medicaid that benefit elderly patients. Of course, AARP also facilitates the sale of branded health insurance policies for members. If more members are able to obtain coverage, this could lead to additional purchases through AARP, and additional funds for this non-profit organization.
What is AARP Health Insurance?
So what, exactly, is AARP health insurance? First of all, AARP doesn’t sell Medicare plans. Medicare is a federally funded (and in some cases, state funded) program designed to offer affordable health insurance benefits to senior citizens (age 65 and older). AARP merely offers members information about Medicare and helps them to enroll in the program.
However, AARP has also formed partnerships with a variety of health insurance providers to offer supplemental policies to members. These may include gap coverage for Medicare recipients, HMO and PPO policies for members age 50-64 who are not yet eligible for Medicare, and vision, dental, and hearing plans.
In exchange for offering these policies to members and associating insurance providers with the trusted AARP brand, the organization receives commissions for sales. Meanwhile, members may receive discounted rates, additional benefits, and access to resources and advice that make choosing the right health insurance and enrolling in programs easier.