Why is purchasing dental insurance directly from Delta Dental cheaper than buying it through AARP? I thought AARP was supposed to help seniors not penalize them.
I'm not certain if AARP is penalizing seniors and charging usurious rates for insurance. Some investigative reporter might be able to dig up the dirt on that. Or maybe some hard questions presented directly to the AARP.
In any case, your question piqued my interest and I did some research on this insurance. I wanted to compare "apples to apples", or at least as much as I could...so that any differences would stand out.
I went to the sites for the AARP plan from Delta and to the regular Delta Dental site. There were multiple plans available so I picked one from each site that seemed to be mostly comparable, and these were the "premium" plans. I entered data for my own zip code (others may vary) and age.
Basically, these were:
(1) AARP Delta Insurance Plan PPO Plan A ... $63.93 per month
(2) Delta Dental PPO Individual - Premium Plan ... $48.79 per month
Thus the AARP plan is around Fifteen Bucks more per month ... around 30 % higher!
But let's look at the details and compare the two plans. This table shows the major details of the plans from the websites. Mostly the two plans have comparable specific benefits but not always (for example, AARP plan does not provide orthodontics, the Delta plan doesn't provide veneers). Note that I only transcribed the main features of the plans as shown on their websites, the "fine print" may cover more detail.
From the table it's apparent that the AARP plan more services "immediately" (noted as "immed." in my table). On the other hand some such services, such as tooth removal is covered earlier with the AARP plan (immediately versus 6 month wait) but you must pay more money: 50% of fee versus 20%.
It seems to me that the AARP plan is comparable overall to the Delta plan. A number of benefits are offered sooner with the AARP plan, so this would be expected to cost more. And the AARP plan picks up more for some services. On the whole I think the added benefits/features of the AARP plan are probably justified when compared to the Delta plan. Thus I don't feel that AARP is "ripping us off".
Someone probably could save some dough by going with the Delta plan and living within its longer waiting periods (I imagine that these don't matter after the first year on the plan).
On the other hand, to pay around $600 to $730 a year just to be able to get a maximum return of the $1500 maximum benefit does not seem like a bargain to me. I myself use a plan recommended by my dentist which provides for lower professional fees but I am always paying "something". Should the annual charges exceed $1500 I would be ahead (a place I am not currently at). But in any case the cost is much less than that for "insurance".