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Everything You Need to Know About AARP Medical Plans

AARP, formerly known as The American Association of Retired Persons, is a nonprofit, member-based organization for people aged over 50. Members can access a range of benefits, including access to medical insurance plans through United Healthcare insurance, a nationwide health insurance company.

This article will look at some of the different insurance plans available with AARP, including the coverage and enrollment options for people living in North Carolina. 

HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Type of Plans Available

There are four types of plans available to AARP members:

  • Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)

  • Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)

  • Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)

  • Dual Special Needs Plans (D-SNP)

Medicare Advantage Plans

AARP Medicare Advantage plans replace Original Medicare Parts A and B. They have fixed networks of medical providers that you can access and it’s often referred to as an all-in-one alternative to Medicare. It includes Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), Medicare Part B (medical insurance), and usually Part D coverage (for prescription medicine).

Some benefits include copayments for visiting your doctor, dental and vision coverage, and discounts for over-the-counter prescriptions.

While AARP Medicare Advantage Plans can vary depending on where you live, many plans offer a good range of medical benefits to help you save on costs. In addition, there’s a range of non-medical benefits provided, such as: 

  • Fitness Programs that are designed to help members stay active 

  • $0 copays on dental for in-network exams, routine cleanings, and yearly x-rays. Some plans cover additional services like crowns, dentures, and fillings. 

  • $0 copays for eye exams and eyewear allowance for frames or contact lenses.

  • $0 copays for a routine hearing assessment and savings on hearing aids.

Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)

Suppose you’re an AARP member enrolled in both Original Medicare Parts A and B. In that case, you’ll be eligible for a supplement plan (known as Medigap) as long as you don’t already have a Medicare Advantage plan.

Original Medicare pays a portion of your health care costs. Still, most people on Medicare are required to pay copays, coinsurance, and annual deductibles. To help cover these gaps, private insurance companies offer Medigap plans.

Supplemental insurance plans allow members to pay for their out-of-pocket medical expenses that aren’t covered by Original Medicare.  Medigap policies don’t cover all healthcare costs, though. For example, they don’t typically have dental or vision, long-term care, or private-duty nursing. They also don’t usually cover hearing aids or eyeglasses.

What are the different types of Medigap plans?

There are ten different Medigap plans, and each is given an identifying letter. Each letter is required to offer the same benefits across all the states, including North Carolina. However, costs do vary between states and between different insurance companies. 

Medigap plans are known as guaranteed renewable. If you pay their monthly premium, the insurer cannot stop your plan. This applies even if you become ill after you purchase a plan. Some plans even provide additional benefits, for example, healthcare when you travel outside the U.S.

If you’re an AARP member, you can choose from eight standardized Medigap plans, including A, B, G, K, L, and N. All are available in North Carolina.  Plans C and F are only available for people who had this supplement prior to 2020.

Benefits of an AARP Medigap plan

There are many benefits of organizing a Medigap plan through AARP, including:

  • There are no network restrictions, which means you can use any Medicare-approved healthcare provider in the U.S.

  • You don’t need to get a referral to see a specialist

  • Multiple plans available

  • Coverage is available if you travel outside of North Carolina

  • Plans are guaranteed for life as long as premiums are paid on time

  • Fewer claim forms to fill out

When to enroll in a Medigap plan

Enrolling in an AARP Medigap plan needs to happen during your six month Medigap open enrollment period. This starts when you turn 65 and are already registered in Medicare Part B. Enrolling during the open enrollment period is essential. If you’ve got any underlying health issues, you can enroll for the same price as someone with no health issues. If you miss the enrollment period, it could cost you more to join a Medigap North Carolina plan.

The premiums for AARP plans can vary depending on where you live and what method is used to set prices in your area. There are three different systems: community-rated, issue-age rated, and attained-age rated. In North Carolina, community-rated is used, which means everyone pays the same price for their policy regardless of their age.

Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)

Original Medicare Parts A and B don’t include prescription drug coverage. So you’ll need to purchase a separate Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan if you want help paying for prescription medicine.  

Original Medicare Parts A and B don’t include prescription drug coverage. So you’ll need to purchase a separate Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan if you want help paying for prescription medicine.  

An AARP MedicareRx plan can help you save on your prescription drugs. However, each plan offers different coverage and drug list formularies, so it’s essential to check before buying to ensure you get all the coverage you need. Our Medicare agents in North Carolina can help answer any questions you have.

Dual Special Needs Plans

AARP Dual Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) are designed for seniors with both Medicare and Medicaid. These plans usually offer lots of extra benefits and features beyond what you can get with Original Medicare. They also typically provide additional help to coordinate your care and benefits. If you’re eligible for this plan, you can get a Dual Special Needs Plan for a $0 plan premium.

Get Started Today

If you’re interested in learning more about any of the medical plans available to AARP members, our North Carolina Medicare agents can help answer any questions. Our local Medicare agents are located throughout North Carolina and specialize in assisting people in finding the right insurance for their needs and budget. So get in touch with us today or compare plans online.

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