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Looks as if you reside in California and if so you should be aware of 'California's Birthday Rule'. It essentially says that during your birthday month you may switch over to ANY other medigap plan offering 'equal or less coverage' than the one you now have without being subjected to underwriting by your insurance company of choice!
I highly recommend Alex Wender of Bluewave Insurance (a Medicare Supplement Broker). Alex switched me from AARP's Plan F to Anthem Blue Cross Plan G (a more cost-effective plan that includes Silver Sneakers). As I live in California, I switched during my birthday month and my health status was not scrutinized (underwriting) and my new plan with Silver Sneakers membership became effective the month following my birthday month. Call Alex (800-208-4974) and tell him pvsurfer sent you (no sales pressure and his services are absolutely free)!
Be well & happy holidays...
Medi-Cal (Medicaid) offers Silver Sneakers....Medicar Advantage Plans offerSilver Sneakers. It's the Plan F and G that they dropped SS off of. I live on SS alone and know the importance of good medical coverage so I give up certain things to pay the extra premium. Medicaid patients have more benefits than we ever will get on Medi Gap plans. Transportation, eye coverage, dental, braces, etc. Theyjust can't go wherever they want. I use Doctors and Hospitals by their skills and education wherever I want and get better care because the reimbursements are higher. To take Silver Sneakers away from Medi Gap and not Managed care. Plans is prejudice. I tried to change to a plan F plan that offered silver Sneakers and was subject to a physical and possible denial of coverage. Am cancer pt. The middle man gets hammered again.
Thankfully Blue Shield of CA still supports Silver Sneakers benefits. United Health Care will be subsidizing a dumb gym membership w/out the beneficial, special Silver Sneakers classes for seniors.
AARP is shameless. The latest AARP Bulletin calls out a relationship between falling and death for seniors WITHOUT any mention of the proven value of Silver Sneakers classes for better balance. Actually without any reference to exercise and balance training and mobility for seniors. Just the fact that death and falling are a growth "item"
I think one of the problems with this whole tread and others like it is that people talk about their MEDICARE HEALTH PLAN - and they do not distinquish the type.
Medicare Advantage plans are completely different than Medigap plans.
AARP branded UHC Medicare Health Plans can be either; they write both types - A Medicare Advantage Plan OR a Medigap Plan. You have to be a member of AARP to get an AARP branded UHC Medigap Plan; you do not have to be a member of AARP to get a AARP branded UHC Medicare Advantage plan.
Extra benefits are an easy add on to a Medicare Advantage plan - they are contracts that last only a years time; renewed the next year but benefits can change in that year.
Medigap plans are GAP insurance only and the benefits are described for each plan in detail by Medicare. If an insurer decides to add some other benefit than those legislated by Medicare to a MEDIGAP plan - you better have it in black and white and they are not guaranteed benefits for a Medigap plan.
The way I understand it - Renew Active is a UHC Medicare Advantage plan benefit.
Actually, UnitedHealthcare switched to Renew Active (www.renewactive.com) for the gym memberships. The main reason, as far as I can tell, is that Silver Sneakers only contracts with national chain gyms and does not contract with regional or local gyms. Renew Active contracts with both the same national gyms as Silver Sneakers, but also INCLUDES local & regional gyms that Silver Sneakers will not contract with. And it's still at no cost to me through my UHC / AARP Medicare health plan. Actually seems like a better deal to me than Silver Sneakers...
I had Silver Sneakers with AARP-United Health for a few years and today I went to the gym and was told my memebership had been cancelled. AARP-United Health informed me that they had cancelled (without informing me) Silver Sneaker program. The new program was called health and wellness which only covers 50% of membership fee. I thought AARP wants us to be healthy, hence Silver Sneakers. I guess not.
Changes to supplement or Medigap plans vary by state for some reason. AARP makes money off endorsements. Those are fees paid to AARP. Supposedly they are looking out for the best interests of its members. To be honest, I haven't actually seen that happen now for some time. They are in bed with who is sending them the endorsement money from what I can tell. I think they used to lobby on behalf of the members but it appears now they lobby on behalf of its endorsers. But you can make changes depending on where you live. In California, right now and up until 4/15/19, you can make a change to Blue Shield of California Plan F Extra without underwriting, and for my family, it's about $40 a month cheaper, and it includes Silver Sneakers. Our application is underway. I'm just an old retired doctor and as such I can tell you there are no organizations looking out for doctors or for patients. We are on our own. So take the time to read up. If you live in a state that likes to reduce and restrict access, you may have to deal with it at the ballot box. With people calling for Medicare for All, we are seeing the insurnace companies fighting back with their purchase of congressmen and other legislators. This is the time to get aggressive back.
Take a look at this site on AARP https://www.aarp.org/benefits-discounts/?intcmp=DSO-HDR-BENEFITS-EWHERE. It is under member benefits. There is an advertisement from United Health Care that states 'The Only Medicare Suppliment Insurance Plans Endorsed by AARP". That says "Only" and 'Endorsed". The definition of Endorsed is to "Declare ones public approval or support of".
Again AARP is a powerful name no matter what small print you want to voice that AARP is just selling their name and everyone has to ignore it. You know that most people trust the AARP name and the companies that get the endorsement know that. I would think that AARP would want the best for the seniors not just a company that follows the Medicare Guidelines which is required by all Medigap companies. No matter what the small print says, I would hope AARP would fight for the best program available for it members. If what you say is true then any company of any product can claim anything, get the endorsement from AARP then change what they offer. I do not know if "some" states allow you to just change insurance companies every year, but most do not and when you research the rules you will find there is very few reasons a person can change companies without the possibility of denal or rate increase. Changing to a state that does not have your plan or your plan is dropped by Medicare being specific. What I am saying is if a company that is "Endorsed" by AARP and because of changes makes another company a better fit, then AARP; should fight for that company to match the others or drop their endorsement. AARP does not describe their relationship as "Royalty" but as an "Endorsement".
I am so glad you read all the fine print. I am sure you are aware that most seniors are not going to read the fine print and may not understand it if they did. They just trust in the AARP endorsement. Again the power of the name and the need not to abuse it. I see you are no longer a member so I don't see the point of you even contributing to this. You must not believe in AARP and are not willing to support it. AARP is suppose to be an organization for seniors and to fight for seniors
You make it sound like it is easy to change Medigap coverage or who covers it. If you really did any research you will know that you only have the right to get coverage without examination on your initial inrollment. After that if you try to change, the insurance company has the right to deny or raise your rate based on your health. So to say just change coverage because you are not happy with the insurance company is not easy or even possible for alot of seniors. I found this out and did my due diligence and made my decision based on alot of factors including the fact that AARP endorsed it. If you look up Medigap programs this one is called "AARP United Health Care Medigap". I thought at the time when I made my selection that AARP would endorse the best for seniors, not have a company that builds up clients based on extras and then drops them after many can not change insurance companie easily or at all. "Extras" and trust count when you are making up your mind. All insurance companies have to follow the "Requirements" of Medicare. It can be the extras that make the difference.
Either you are not on medigap or you are one of the fortunate that can change medigap programs because of excellent health or are not aware of the restrictions that caused by trying to change programs after the initial windows. The open window every year allows you to change but it does say any company can not deny or raise your rates if you try.
If you are saying the AARP endorsed Unitited Health Care because they follow the required guidelines of Medicare, then that applies to all insurance companies So the endorsement is worthless. You are quite wrong if you think that an endorsement from AARP is not powerfull. One of the main reasons you would select AARP is because you trust that they doing the best for seniors. Why would you belong to the organization if it were not.
So based on what you are saying, all products that are endorsed by AARP are not really checked by AARP and probably not the best for seniors. If this is the case and you believe it, why are you a member? Just for the discounts? Which are no better then AAA. I would hope that you belong to AARP because it is an organization that is there to help seniors, not to sell to them.
The ease of changing a Medigap plan to a different insurer or a different plan - as long as it is equal to or less in plan design is largely up to a state. As an example -several States have a birthday rule where it is easy to change yearly without underwriting.
Medigap plans have to cover specifics as defined by traditional (Original) Medicare and the plan design - those are the actual benefits. Anything "extra" like some dental or vision coverage or a health and wellness program are not mandated by Medicare and do not affect the plans mandated coverage. Read your plan - it should say something about these "extra" benefits like this (a disclosure) These are additional insured member services apart from the AARP Medicare Supplement Plan benefits, are not insurance programs, are subject to geographical availability, and may be discontinued at any time.
What I am saying is I do not consider a "name royalty" as an endorsement for ANY benefit - I pick any benefit based on what I need and then I look for the best place to fill that need. Yes, I think that people are interpreting this "name royalty" erroneously - the AARP may endorse whatever benefits they want (Actually it is done by AARP Services, Inc.) but they are not the insurer and that is all left to the insurer - you sign the insurers contract of insurance coverage. Look at all the AARP Insurance Disclosures:
Providers pay a royalty fee to AARP for use of the AARP intellectual property. These fees are used for general purposes of AARP. AARP and its affiliates are not insurers. AARP does not employ or endorse agents, producers or brokers. Provider offers are subject to change and may have restrictions. Please contact the provider directly for details.
AARP does not recommend health-related products, services, insurance or programs. Insurance products carrying the AARP name are intended to be competitive products and may not be the lowest priced products. You are strongly encouraged to evaluate your needs and compare products.
AARP endorses the AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company pays royalty fees to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. AARP and its affiliates are not insurers.
Insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, Horsham, PA (UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of New York, Islandia, NY for New York residents). Policy form No. GRP 79171 GPS-1 (G-36000-4).
In some states plans may be available to persons under age 65 who are eligible for Medicare by reason of disability or End-Stage Renal Disease.
Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program.
This is a solicitation of insurance. A licensed insurance agent/producer may contact you.
CALL TO RECEIVE COMPLETE INFORMATION (INCLUDING OUTLINES OF COVERAGE) SHOWING BENEFITS, COSTS, ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS, EXCLUSIONS, AND LIMITATIONS.
You must be an AARP member to enroll in an AARP Medicare Supplement Plan.
You can read all of them specifically at the link ~
Is the name attachment worthless - not to AARP since they make money off of it but are not any part of the insurance. AARP has lots of "benefits" listed for membership but are they the best buy - maybe not and the disclosure says that. You only have to be a member of AARP to get a AARP-UHC Medicare Supplemental policy - NOT a Medicare Advantage plan and many of the other insurance products..
If your current AARP- UHC Medicare Supplemental plan does NOT have a disclosure about these "extra" benefits and they are enumerated in your policy / contract - then take them to Court.
There is a new breed of Plan F design under some insurers - called different things but something like Plan F Extra or Innovative Plan F in various states - It offers many extra benefits - dental, vision, maybe others - Anthem and BCBS are some of the ones I have seen advertised - maybe state specific. I don't know how these "extra" benefits are worded in the contract - or whether or not they will continue to be offered after 2020. Maybe some of our Ins. brokers that frequent this site can tell us. There is an extra charge for these type of Medigap plans.
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