What I think is that many times seniors equate a benefit as being cheaper - not the case, at all.
What I think is that many times seniors think that something that is connected to AARP is good, better or best for them - Not always.
What I think is that many times seniors don't research, look around or compare - they just go to what is either familiar (perhaps in name recognition) or in the case of a Medigap policy or a Medicare Advantage plan, it is easier just to pick it.
Many seniors do think that UHC, whether under the AARP royalty name or otherwise, offers them a good and reasonable Medigap or MA plan. Millions definitely do pick them for whatever their reason.
You don't have to be a member of AARP to buy the UHC royalty branded AARP variety of a Medicare Advantage plan. BUT you DO have to be an AARP member to buy a UHC royalty branded AARP variety of the Medigap plan - now do you have to stay a member for all the time that you are committed to this particular Medigap plan - I don't know. If you do, then perhaps that is part of the reason why UHC offers the declining discount on premiums, but I thought that was all of their Medigap plans and not just the AARP branded ones - again, I don't know since I am not involved as a participant or as a Medicare insurance broker.
UHC offers both Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap plans outside of the AARP royalty branded type - is there a difference in them in the actual plans? Probably not, but since I don't have one, it is up to the buyer to scrutinize this. As far as Medigap plans go - again NO difference in basic benefits since these are set at the Federal level. Medigap plans, all of them, only have one basic function - for your monthly premiums, your out-of-pocket cost of Medicare health coverage is either partially or fully covered. If Medicare covers it; your Medigap should pay their part of the service as your particular Medigap plan states.
AARP does help [some] seniors with their advocacy positions and many of these advocacies are helped with the royalty payment revenues from the branded companies that participate. Same is true of their state initiatives. They also give donations to various other non-profit groups that are senior oriented. These are listed on their most recent Form 990 on file with the IRS.
They sponsor a senior tax prep which also helps many. They offer the driving program school that can also help lower your auto insurance. They also have a Foundation that helps with various senior or aging issues, many times in a legal manner. They also hire lobbyist to work on various pieces of legislation - for and against - for the benefit of older Americans. I don't always agree on their various stances here. But they do work to produce data for this purpose -
AARP.org is a 501(c)(4) organization - membership oriented - they also produce various publications and articles that keep their members informed - now that these are being updated on a regular basis, this seems to be a wonderful benefit but here again, one has to use it and understand it for this to be effective.
Also keep in mind that they have expanded the age group of members - now at 50 and above - to me, that's a wide age group with different priorities.
AARP's mission statement is to empower people to choose how they live as they age. That's pretty far reaching as far as who they focus on to represent by membership. As with any other benefit, people should research the organizations to which they belong for whatever reason to see if it fits them.
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It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna