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Regular Contributor

Silver Sneakers being droped by AARP recommended insurer

I guess like all who have the "silver sneakers" card will become another worthless trash item.

United Health Care will discontinue your membership starting 1/1/18.

I am glad I went and purchased my own gym since but it is my guess that many others

do not have the money or the room for it like I do.

I had been using mine for treadmill and sauna during the cold times. the rest of the year i was

wlaking locally or golf course walking and swinging.

 

I think AARP might just search out another insurance company....as I might do on my own.....

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Regular Contributor

I , too switched away from UHC-AARP. I am disgusted with how they cancelled Silver Sneakers suddenly and without enough warning for many to change policies. I was able to switch to Medical Mutual AFTER the Dec 7 deadline because they have opened up a way to move over to them with NO health questions and open enrollment until I think June. If you are unhappy with this dirty trick, check into Medical Mutual now. I not only got Silver Sneakers back, but I am saving money every month!! Same Plan G, same great coverage. This applies to anyone who currrently has a Medicare supplement and wants to change to Med Mutual.

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Periodic Contributor

Thank you the information!  I too plan to sign up at LA Fitness in Pasadena using the UHC AARP Medigap Plan G benefit.  I need to know if 50% of all standard membership charges are covered, including the initiation fee, monthly dues, and annual fee.

 

I look forward to seeing what you find out and learning the procedures I need to follow to get the discount.

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Contributor

LA fitness waives the initiation fees.  What they do is automatically give you 50% off of their top membership but they are adding a racquetball cost to the membership. 

The membership for all clubs plus any state is 29.99 but they add racquetball courts to the membership which is an additional fee. So when I signed up it just didn’t give you the choice to not have racquetball. I play racquetball so it was fine with me, but most seniors don’t want that.  Another thing is they didn’t give the choice of just going to one club in which the membership is 24.99 a month.  Most people only go to the club near their home.  So what I am paying is 22.00 per month.  50% of  30.00 (15.00) plus 7.00 for racquetball and towels.  My club doesn’t have towels. I have to go talk to them about that.  

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Periodic Contributor

Google UHC CEO compensation for previous years. I’m dropping AARP also.

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Contributor

I am leaving AARP and UHC because of this.  Active seniors are healthy seniors and cutting gym membership is counter-productive...except for stockholders, of course.  And executives.

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Periodic Contributor

Are we being too hard on UHC?

After all, they only make (as in profit) about a Billion dollars per month. And they only have $38 billion in the bank.  (per SEC filing 10-Q for the third quarter 2018). And the top two executives only make $18 million eachper year. 

And wouldn't it be interesting to know how much AARP is paid to flog these policies to us. 

So maybe we arn't being too hard after all.

dcobb
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Community Manager
Community Manager

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Well that is a whole lot of nothing. This is the same post they put out earlier and does not adequatley address the issue. It's facinating to me that if AARP and UHC and Silver Sneakers all decided to drop from UHC because not enough people were participating, why are other insurance companies picking it up? Why is it now available in the Advantage Plans? I am seeing lots of ads in print and on TV now for Medicare Advantage Plans SHOUTING that they now have Silver Sneakers. Such a load of you know what coming from AARP/UHC. It's all about $$$ folks......but then we already know that.
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Newbie

Guess what? I typed in HealthYourWay.com like you mailer suggested and I got sent to a TRUMP health care place. You sell outs! 

Im handicapped and LA Fitness and your other choice places have no pools. I can only do water exercises. Silver Sneakers was accepted at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium. Thanks for nothing. You increased my premium and lowered the care. Humana plans get Silver Sneakers. 

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Regular Contributor

Remember when Coca Cola introduced their new formula, then changed back right away? Remember when Netflix discontinued DVDs and said you could only stream, then changed back right away? 

Well, I have left UHC and my husband will leave on his birthday (Calif), but I will continue to watch their decisions just out of curiosity.  They are either incredibly smart or ridiculously stupid. Either way, their strategy will likely make a good case study for upcoming marketing students.

 

Will be a long time before I will trust AARP or UHC.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  I hope everyone finds a reasonable solution for their exercise needs. Here's to a helathy 2019. 

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Regular Contributor

I too will continue to follow this. 

 

And like many of you, I've just dropped United Heath Care in favor of Anthem Blue Cross!  My coverage is effective January 1st.  I went with Innovative F which is the "F Plan" with some vision and hearing aid benefits.  Obviously, it has Silver Sneakers too!  And best of all, the total cost is LESS than United Health and by paying a single annual payment, you get a bigger discount!

 

We need to all remember, AARP has become a "business."  I do think that some work they do is really and helpful for seniors but it's a business making money!   

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Periodic Contributor

It always has been a business. Important to see the House Ways and Means Committee report that someone just had removed from the public rolls online...but it is here:

 

https://seniorsavingsnetwork.org/ways-and-means-committee-report-on-aarp-removed-from-site/

The Blue Shield Innovative Plan F is a great plan..more benefits and less cost. We can help with that. (800-729-9590).

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Honored Social Butterfly

That's why I posted the address and name of head for the AARP Services, Inc. for people to express their displeasure - 

When AARP gave their responses to this investigation, they posted their response on their website.

 AARP 11/2012 - AARP Responds to Congressional Inquiries

 

They stated that there is a decision making process and this is how they described it:

AARP - AARP Services Inc Decision Process

AARP Services, Inc.

AARP has always been committed to fighting for the 50-plus in both the public and the private sectors. As with policy decisions, AARP-branded product decisions begin with the needs of all those over 50. AARP Services, Inc. (ASI) is AARP’s wholly-owned, taxable subsidiary, which provides quality control and oversight on behalf of AARP for AARP-branded products and services. Feedback from AARP members and the 50-plus market helps ASI explore product concepts, which are then reviewed by the ASI product team, AARP staff and AARP’s Board of Directors to ensure they are in line with AARP’s public policy, social change and membership goals. Once these reviews are complete, product development and implementation begins. Throughout this process ASI oversees and monitors providers to ensure that products with the AARP-brand deliver value to AARP members and hopefully change the marketplace to benefit the entire 50+ population.

 

This Silver Sneakers coverage problem does NOT include all the membership since only those 65 and over can qualify for a Medicare insurance plan - Medigap or Medicare Advantage - with a few disabled in some states who get SSDI and thus are eligible for Medicare.

 

AARP is suppose to make decision for their membership - it is a 501(c)(4).

Well the membership has lots of differing descriptions -

  • 50 years old or older
  • NOT all of them qualify for Medicare 
  • NOT all of them can afford a Medigap plan
  • NOT all of them are concerned with an exercise program

I feel like I am an unbiased source here - 

I am not a member but do understand their need to bring in income over and above membership dues.  I do not have a Medicare Insurance plan - Medigap nor MA plan.  

 

The AARP Foundation is where they work for ALL seniors and that subsidiary is a charitable non-profit - 501(c)(3).

 

Each person that is eligible for a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan should understand how they work and which one is best for their own needs.  They need to understand the consumer protection which are built into each of them by rules from the Feds and their state.

 

These "extra" benefits built into ANY Medicare insurance plan can change.  The difference is that switching a Medicare Advantage plan is made very simple by the Annual Open enrollment period.

 

There is a lot more to consider when switching a Medigap insurer when guaranteed issue rights are not assured.  

 

The BS Innovative Plan F is probably fine but will they take people from another insurer with only a Plan F,  not Innovative?  Will they do it for someone who has a pre existing condition and not disqualify it from coverage for a set period, or deny them coverage altogether?

 

Will they not underwrite them and charge them more for their premiums?

Will their premiums not escalate down the road because of their rating method?

AARP United Healthcare Medicare Supplemental plans  are group coverage that uses a Community Rating method in all the states where they sell this coverage.  What rating method does the BS Innovative Plan F use - or is it based on the state where the policy is written?

 

Community Rating is usually the slowest to rise followed by Issue age and then Attained age.  So sometimes people are making a decision to switch their Medigap plan because they are following this Silver Sneakers "extra" benefit and they are just considering the premium right here and now - what happens when that new "attained age" premium starts to rise each year as they get older (and perhaps sick or sicker).  How are they gonna deal then?

 

 

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Honored Social Butterfly


@don1cobb wrote:

 

And wouldn't it be interesting to know how much AARP is paid to flog these policies to us. 

 


Here is AARP's 2016 Non-profit report (Form 990) - that is the last one that I could find.

 

https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/about_aarp/annual_reports/2017/form-990-2016-aarp.pdf

 

Royalties - which are a non-tax item for charitable organizations under unrelated income defined by the IRS

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicr80.pdf

are shown in Part VIII - Statement of Revenue, page 9, line 5 -  Form 990 -Royalty amount of $ 880,148, 099.  Now this is the total amount from all of the AARP Insurance Plan programs for this reporting period - I am assuming from their description that these are only the ones for which you have to be a member of AARP in order to participate.

 

On Schedule O page 2, AARP describes this Royalty income as this:

 

The AARP Insurance Plan is a grantor trust established by an Agreement and Declaration of Trust for the purpose of making group health insurance and other health-related products and services available to AARP, Inc. members. Agreements between AARP, Inc., AARP Services, Inc., and several insurance companies enable AARP-branded insurance products to be made available to AARP members.

 

At the direction of the third party insurance carriers, the Plan pays AARP, Inc. a portion of the total premiums collected for the use of its intellectual property, which is reported as royalties in the consolidated statements of activities.

 

BTW, the amount a company pays to AARP for these royalties, I.e. the use of their intellectual property - the AARP name - is also deductible as a business expense on the company's return - a cost of doing business.

 

So, if a person also deducts the amount of this insurance on their personal return - Schedule B - it becomes a tax expenditure for taxpayers - meaning it cost tax money to give this deduction since it has never been taxed at any level.

 

 

 

 

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Honored Social Butterfly

To add a bit more about the relationship of United Health Group ( United Healthcare ) and AARP, specifically in the realm of branded Medigap plans and their cost to beneficiaries -

 

Court House News Service 02/18/2018 - (Florida) - Class Claims AARP Bilking Seniors Through Insuranc...

 

In this case, the wording of "commissions" equals "royalties".

 

 The actual case filing -

https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/AARP-and-UnitedHealth.pdf

 

I do not know where this case stands at the present time but it is interesting especially since many of you here feel that AARP owes some advocacy in the regards of specific (special) coverage to members - 

 

Is it "Royalties" or if it "Commissions" - ??  Or are they somewhat the same ?

 

Royalties - Royalties are payments of various types to owners of property for use of that property. Royalties usually deal with payments for the right to use intellectual property, like copyrights, patents, and trademarks.

 

Commissions - a fee paid to an agent or employee for transacting a piece of business or performing a service especially : a percentage of the money received from a total paid to the agent responsible for the business.

 

Seems to me that the choice that is made here by these definitions would determine whether or not there is any responsibility for advocacy in respect to the represented membership of the organization.

 

Just some thoughts -  Anything involving money and business is always more complicated than what it might seem on the surface - be that business model FOR-profit or NON-profit.

 

 

 

 

 

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Regular Contributor

Thank you so much for doing the research on this and posting the links.  Reluctantly I am now convinced that AARP is not living up to the values it preaches. I will be ending my membership with them accordingly.  They are NOT looking out for the welfare of seniors.  This organization is strictly a money-making FOR PROFIT organization and should be stripped of its Non-Profit Status.

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Newbie

I called UHC today (1/3/19) to get the code needed to take advantage of the half price membership offer. I was told that the program is not yet set up and codes aren’t available. In addition, the letter I received in December listed 2 gyms I could join. One location has been closed for several years and the other gym gets bad reviews for lack of cleanliness.  Since  the local gym is unacceptable, my plan was to join a Y in a city I visit frequently that offers Silver Sneakers and then be able to use Y facilities when I travel.I was told that I had to use the code  in my local area and there is no Y in my area.  Just way too many hurdles.  Appears that UHC and AARP don’t have our best interests at heart.

 

 Come on AARP, advocate for us as you are being paid to do and insist that UHC reinstate Silver Sneakers. There are other insurance companies out there and perhaps AARP should look into moving insureds to one of those. Otherwise individuals can do it for themselves and leave AARP behind.

 

Bottom line, Silver Sneakers offers many health advantages and discontinuing it is not in members best interests.

 

 

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Contributor

I just switched away from UHC to another insurer.  Saved over 25$  I expect those healthy seniors the ones that UHC would want to keep will also do so.  As consumers when a company maintains a high price and then removes services like Silver Sneakers the smart move is to walk away.  Hear that AARP who is looking out for us  RIGHT?

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Periodic Contributor

I felt like sending AARP an email about Silver Sneakers and UHC, so I did.  It's not perfect, but I think it gets the point accross. I wonder if I'll get some sort of response? Here's what I wrote:

 

"Your Continued association with United Health Care as they discontinue their involvement with the Silver Sneakers program goes against everything you stand for. You're supposed to stand up for us, not stand idly by while we lose benefits. Your formerly good name is inextricably connected to United Health Care while they act in their own interest instead of ours. Why did you allow this to happen? You had the power to say "NO!", but you remained silent. You could have reminded United Health Care that you can lend your name to whichever company you choose. But you remained silent. You and/or UHC thought you could placate those of us who value Silver Sneakers by offering us other choices, none of which is a reasonable alternative. That action suggests that you think we're not smart enough to see what's happening, which is insulting. Why do you insult your members? Have you been reading your own forums? There's quite a lot of activity there concerning this issue. Most people plan to switch away from UHC as soon as they're able. Not only that, but many people are so disappointed, or angry, with AARP, that they will be canceling their membership in your organization. I can't say that I blame them, as you have failed your fundamental purpose in your complacency on this issue. What do we need AARP for? We can lose benefits on our own without your "help". I suggest that you reconsider your actions, and reassert yourself. Each of your millions of members is an individual to whom you owe your best efforts. On this health care issue, you've let every one of your members down. Sincerely,(myself and my member number)"

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Periodic Contributor

Good idea.  It might be effective to print out your email and mail it to the AARP mailing address.  I don't have AARP's address offhand but I am sure it can be found online.  I think their headquarters are in Washington D.C.  Maybe going "old school" will make AARP sit up and take notice.

 

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Contributor

I also just switched. As a healthy, active senior I enjoy and participate in Silver Slippers. I agree that we are the ones UHC would want to keep. My last employer had a similar health program to the one that UHC is now using--a bunch of resources that to me were useless. I will not renew my AARP membership either.

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Regular Contributor

And those of us who have already moved to another insurance provider should email them and tell them we'll leave them too if they get rid of SilverSneakers or Silver and Fit.  After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (unless you're using the metric system).

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Periodic Contributor

For those who are trying to enroll in the fitness benefit that replaced Silver Sneakers, you need to call UHC to obtain a confirmation code to take to you gym. Call the number on the back of your ID card. For me this was 1-800-523-5800. Right now the phone lines are very busy. I was first on hold for 20 minutes and when a representative finally answered she said she could not hear me. When I called back the representative said that their system to enter info to retrieve my confirmation code was not working and asked that I call back in a few hours. I also tried to obtain my confirmation code online at Healthyourway.com. But, alas, that wasn't working either and I was directed to call the above reference phone number. Sigh!

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Periodic Contributor

This is my second post regarding the Silver Sneakers issue.  Please be reminded that according to the letter, to get this special benefit from AARP/UHC, the member must use the website provided.  I was given a website on United HealthCare's (UHC) which would activate the new program for 2019.  UHC would not give me permission to access the site until January 1, 2019.  Thus, one of the first things on my agenda for 2019 was to access the site.  Here is my experience for a CA member:  The discount "deal" for LA Fitness was no deal at all.  The offer on the site was identical to the membership arrangements given by the club for walk-ins- $99 activation fee and $29.95 per month.  If you had a previous membership with LA Fitness (that the member was paying themselves) $25 activation and $24.95 a month.  These so called deals are a far cry from 50% off the monthly dues and waived activation fees.  Again, AARP needs to listen to its membership and act accordingly.  If UHC refuses, then AARP should withwraw any and all endorsements from them.  There are many other insurance companies who would gladly assume the AARP members and their retirement dollars. As of this posting, there have been over 13,000 views on this topic.  That should indicate the weight of this concern to all involved.

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Contributor

I went to healthyourway.com and got my code on the 31st Dec. I followed the link and at first it showed the rate everyone else got.  You have to put the confirmation number in to show the discount.  It did waive the initiation fee but it signs you up to LA fitness signature where you use the club everywhere and it included racquetball and towel service. I play racquetball so that part was fine.  They did give 50% off of 29.00 membership plus the 7.00.    Where I am disappointed is what if I didn’t play racquetball why should I pay for it and I only use the one club it would be nice if I had the choice of that. The price for one club is 25.00. I don’t care about the $2.00 difference in membership but as I said if I only use one club and don’t play racquetball my dues should be 12.50 a month. 

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My husband and I had a lot of difficulty just signing up for LA Fitness. For me it was trying to enter the code on LA Fitness website. Had to call UHC to know where that was hidden on their webpage. Once that was found the LA Fitness mobile app was confusing. I was to create an account and needed to put in a barcode. The one given wouldn't work so by chance I tried a key tag number that was listed on the email sent regarding my membership. That worked. Then it askes for 5 digits but not any info could be seen as to what that was. Finally figured out that it had something to do with monthly billing. Lots of wasted time and frustration. 

My husband couldn't access healthyourway to get his code. He spent 45 minutes with several people without resolving the problem. He tried again the next day and was told there was trouble with the website and they gave him his code. 

This change has made it very difficult for seniors to get a membership due to problems with their website and LA Fitness website. This was not thought through. The added cost will also keep many from even using gyms. Very poor decision making. 

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Periodic Contributor

I was unable to switch insurance companies for a reasonable price do to some health issues.The qoute after underwritting from BCBS was $90 more than I was paying.

I did inquired at several heath clubs in the phoenix area to see what the offers are for this 50% off deal. LA fitness qouted $22 month (normal rate is $30). I'm not a genius but I know $22 is not 50% of $30. EOS fitness did not have any details about the offer even with the confirmation code and letter from AARP/UHC.

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Periodic Contributor

The main reason I joined AARP was to prevent exactly what is happening, a business wants to make more money so they cut benefits and raise prices. So UHC thinks they will make more money and they don't care that many of their customers will be denied a valuable health benefit as well as the benefit that many derive from the social contact. I realize not everyone uses Silver Sneakers, but many people do. Just in my small town there are over 800 memebers loosing their Silver Sneakers benefits. Our only option is to join a much smaller gym and pay for the privilege. But if you expect any better treatment from UHC you must be new around here.

 

However, AARP is a different story. They are supposed to protect us and champion our causes. So what did they do to protect us in this situation - nothing. They must realize that this move will result in the degradation of their members health and well being. Yet no action was taken, only the lame excuse that "we didn't cut your benefits, UHC did". Yes, but you have done little to stop this injustice. Oh wait, you do derive substantial financial benefits from endorsing UHC insurance. Now I get it. You view us members as a source of money, not as people to be protected. And the joke is on us, we pay for that privilege. 

 

Well don't count on that revenue stream from me in the future. I can be taken advantage of without your help.

dcobb
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Periodic Contributor

Did you try Humana? I was able to beat UHC rate by $50 and they have silver sneakers.
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Periodic Contributor

First of all “dropped” is spelled with two “P’s”.   Secondly, what a bummer!   I became eligible for Medicare, July 2018.  I joined AARP because the United Healthcare Plan I selected was cost effective as a member.  I also use Silver Sneakers program, which is one of the reasons I chose this particular plan.  Why was there no mention of SS being dropped at that time?   One would think that having recently enrolled, AARP and/or UHC would have grandfathered a complete year.   Once again, greed over what is right wins.  So disappointing.

 

I am so thoroughly disgusted with AARP.   Please someone explain what this organization does?   Drug prices go through the roof, yet they say they were successful in keeping costs down.   I can get discounts on things I never use.  Now the one thing that I truly use and helps me is taken away!

 

I will not be renewing my AARP membership, nor will I renew my United Healthcare plan.   I know I’m only a drop in the bucket to them.  They will keep sucking the dolllars out of others pockets.   

 

I’m reminded of a quote from a movie, “I’m sick and tired and I’m not going to take it anymore!”   You know how to get AARP and UHC to listen?  Take their money away!

 

Happy 2019 all.  Thanks for giving me the soapbox.

 

Ciao.......

 

 

 

 

 

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