AARP Medicare Advantage Review – Is worth it?

AARP aims at enriching the lives of those over 50 by offering travel discounts and discounts at restaurants, as well as advice about retirement and health. UnitedHealthcare has also partnered with AARP to offer Medicare Advantage Plans for those who are eligible.

AARP’s Medicare Advantage Plans, which are insured by UnitedHealthcare, the largest Medicare Advantage provider, offer many benefits that aren’t available in Original Medicare. These include preventive care for vision and hearing problems, as well as preventive care for dental and vision conditions.

Here are some facts about AARP Medicare Benefit.

AARP Medicare Advantage: Why you might choose it

The Medicare offerings of AARP have many strong points:

  • UnitedHealthcare is backed by a solid company. It insures AARP Medicare Advantage Plans and offers the largest Medicare Advantage network with over 850,000 providers.
  • Plans highly rated: Three quarters of AARP Medicare Benefit plans with star rating are rated four stars or higher
  • $0 Premium Plans: About 75% of the people who are enrolled in an AARP Medicare Advantage Plan have a $0 premium.

AARP Medicare Plans

Medicare Advantage Plans Available

The structure and benefits of AARP Medicare Advantage plans are varied. The company offers HMO, PPO and stand-alone prescription drugs plans.

HMO Plans

An HMO (health maintenance organization) typically requires you to use a certain network of hospitals and doctors. To see a specialist you may need to be referred by your primary physician. Out-of-network benefits can often be very limited.

PPO Plans

The most flexible PPO plans allow you to see any provider who accepts your insurance. You don’t necessarily need to choose a primary physician and you don’t need referrals for specialists. Although it is possible to seek out-of network care, it can be more expensive than an in-network physician.

Prescription drug plans available under Part D

While most AARP Medicare Advantage plans offer Part D drug coverage (although many do), there are also standalone Part-D prescription drug plans. These plans can be used in conjunction with Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B, but they don’t offer medical coverage.

AARP and UnitedHealthcare offer coverage for prescription drugs through AARP MedicareRx plans. These plans cover both generic and brand-name prescription drugs. However, different plans provide different types of coverage. AARP has three options for Part D plans:

  • AARP MedicareRx Prefer: Provides a wide range of pharmacy network options. It also includes insulin copays of $35 and less, $0 deductible across all drug levels, and $0 copay to receive a 90-day supply Tier 1 and Tier 2, with OptumRx Home Delivery. This plan has the highest premiums.
  • AARP MedicareRx Plus: Provides coverage for most generic drugs. It also offers lower premiums and is better for those who don’t take many prescriptions. Included in the Preferred Retail Pharmacy Network is a $1 copay for Tier 1 medications.
  • AARP MedicareRx Walgreens offers lower monthly premiums, and the ability to fill prescriptions in Walgreens. The copay for Tier 1 drugs is $0 and the annual deductible for Tier 1 and 2 drugs is $0.

Additional benefits

AARP Medicare Advantage provides discounts for members who need dental care, eye examinations, and hearing aids. Many plans also offer additional benefits. These are some of the best:

  • Renew Active membership benefits: All plans offer members access to a wide range of fitness and training facilities. Members have access to a library of workout videos online and an online program for brain health from AARP Staying Sharp.
  • Allowance for over-the counter items: Plan members might be eligible to receive an allowance that can be used towards over-the–counter items such as first-aid supplies and vitamins, pain relievers, and cough and cold medicine.
  • Telehealth: Nearly every plan offers $0 copays telehealth visits.

Customer service

AARP Medicare Advantage members have the ability to contact their plan’s customer support (managed by UnitedHealthcare) using the following methods:

  • You can call the number on your member ID card from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. 7 days a semaine.
  • Chat with a service advocate once members log into their member page.
  • For website-related technical problems, call 800-721-0627 (TTY 711) 7 days a semaine, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Central Time.
  • Follow UnitedHealthcare on Twitter and Facebook.

Service area of AARP

AARP Medicare Advantage plans can be found in 46 states. As of May 2021, approximately 3.7 million people were enrolled in AARP plans.

UnitedHealthcare is the nation’s largest health insurance company [3, 4]. It is also the largest for-profit health plan [4, 5]. UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans have more than 6.5 million Medicare beneficiaries. The company also added 827,000 members to the plan for the year 2021.


The cost of Medicare Advantage plans depends on the plan you choose, where you live and what your health needs are. The plan’s premium is one of the expenses to be considered. Many Medicare Advantage plans offered $0 premiums. About 70% of AARP members are enrolled in $0 premium plans. The average monthly premium for Medicare Part C or Part D plans by AARP is $39.43.

You will still have to pay your Medicare Part B premium even if you are a Medicare Advantage user. It is minimum $148.50 for 2021. (Most people will pay the standard amount. However, if you earn more than that, you will pay more.

You should also consider other out-of-pocket expenses:

  • What percentage of your Medicare Part B premium is covered by the plan?
  • The plan’s annual deductibles as well as any other deductibles such a drug deductible.
  • Each visit will have a copayment and/or coinsurance. You might pay a $10 copay to see your primary physician and $45 for specialist visits.
  • The maximum out-of pocket and in-network limits are set by the plan.
  • It is important to know whether your providers are in-network and out-of-network. Also, how often you might need care outside of your network.
  • Consider whether you need additional benefits and what the cost of such benefits are.

Use Medicare’s Plan Locator to get an idea of the costs and compare plans available in your area. Select UnitedHealthcare to view only plans from that carrier, or you can compare plans across all carriers. You can also shop directly on UnitedHealthcare’s website. Simply enter your ZIP code and you will be able to view the available plans.

AARP Medicare star ratings

Average star rating: 3.0

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services maintain their own star ratings database for every Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan. These ratings range from the best (5 stars) down to the worst (1 star). These ratings are based on the quality of care provided by plans and customer satisfaction. Ratings can change year to year.

According to the most recent data, AARP Medicare Advantage plans have an average rating of 3.9. This is the same average as UnitedHealthcare overall . The average star rating of plans from all providers was 4.06 [6].

15% of the AARP Medicare Advantage Plans with star ratings for 2021 are rated 4.5 and 59% are rated 4.0. 26% of the AARP Medicare Advantage plans received a rating 3.5 and 1% were rated 3.0.

The Medicare Plan Locator allows you to find out the rating of a plan.

Locate the best Medicare Advantage plan

Before you make a decision about a health plan, it is important to do your research. These are some questions you should ask:

  • How much does the plan cost? Are you familiar with the plan’s costs, including premium, deductibles and copays. Are they affordable?
  • Are you a member of a network doctor? Make sure your preferred provider is included in the network.
  • What about prescriptions? It is important to know what your plan covers if you are on medication. Which tier do you belong on for prescription drugs? Are there any specific coverage rules?
  • Does the plan offer dental coverage? Is the plan designed to provide routine coverage for hearing, vision and dental needs?
  • Are there any extras? Are there any additional benefits such as transportation benefits, meal delivery, or fitness memberships?