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AARP/Aetna Premier Health Insurance: A Rant
Old 10-30-2008, 11:09 AM   #1
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AARP/Aetna Premier Health Insurance: A Rant

Right now I'm so angry that I want to cancel my AARP membership (it's not like I get a lot from it except for a magazine and a discount on my annual eye exam).

A recent newspaper article noted that the Aetna insurance for AARP members is now available in Georgia:

Aetna To Offer AARP-Branded ‘Premier’ Health Insurance Options To Baby Boomers And Their Families In Georgia

Supposedly Aetna is doing this in conjunction with AARP for "members in the 50 to 65 age group who lack employer coverage but have not reached the Medicare eligibility rate of 65, people who have a difficult time finding quality, affordable health care options."

So I called them up today, only to learn that:

1. Medical underwriting is still required.
Perhaps it will be a little less stringent than other underwriting, but there is still a probability that many people will be excluded.

2. After six months there can be a rate adjustment of 25 to 50% of the initial premium! (25 to 150% in Florida, from what I can gather).
So it's like they offer a low rate to begin with and then the sky's the limit after that.



Basically this seems to be a marketing/PR campaign. AARP and Aetna can pat themselves on the back and claim that they are helping to ensure the 50 to 65 age group. But with the underwriting still rearing its ugly head and the fine print notice that the premium rate can be adjusted after six months, I don't see this as being a help at all!

Am I looking at this the wrong way? And what's with AARP, anyway? If it's a nonprofit, where do all their profits go? And what do they really do, other than lobby?
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:17 AM   #2
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AARP gets a fee for allowing Aetna to use it's name, for that fee they provide mailing services (i.e., junk mail offerings) to their members.

People have several opinions about AARP. Although I'm not a member (because of the junk mail) you need to weigh whether the annual membership fee provides you with enough discounts to offset the cost.

As to the Medical offering, there was a similar discussion here about this coverage several months ago.

-- Rita
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:35 AM   #3
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Ever since I turned 50, I re-join AARP when I reserve a hotel room with an AARP discount. Reserved a room a couple of weeks ago, asked if they had an AARP discount, yes, 10%, they gave it me. I forgot to re-sign up but was charged the discounted rate. Maybe it's just a senior rate and I do look my age. (Couldn't find the embarrassed cheapskate smilie).

Seems silly to join when you can read their newsletters online.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:47 AM   #4
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I found that the discount offered for AARP is the same is AAA.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:58 AM   #5
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AARP must also get a fee/commission from Expedia--I reserved a rental car directly from a car rental place, no discount. When I went to AARP's site to see if there was a discount code, it now sends you to Expedia with supposedly a 10 percent discount. The rental rate was exactly the same as the one I got on my own. The hotel discount still works directly which pays for the membership, but otherwise the exclusive membership has become pretty useless.
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Old 10-30-2008, 12:01 PM   #6
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Never stayed at a chain hotel that did not give me at least a 10% discount for being a member of the human race. Of course if you do not ask for it you don't get it.
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:22 PM   #7
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This is another example of why we need healthcare reform. The cost of healthcare is represented by a curve that starts low when you are young and goes up as you age. For profit companies are allowed to operate by avoiding the riskier (older) portions of the population. Many younger, healthier folks in their twenties don't see the need or want to pay for it. Universal coverage, single payor system is the only rational way to get a better result. Private companies could be kept in the game by allowing them to bid on covering all the people is a geographic area.
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:16 PM   #8
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Unfortunately, companies like AARP that offer health insurance are not offering group insurance and so generally speaking all the usual underwriting standards apply.
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:00 PM   #9
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Just got my annual notice of a premium increase from BCBS. A nice 15% pop. My first couple of years the increase was around 5%, last year 8% and now this. They got us by the short hairs and they know it.
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawg54 View Post
Just got my annual notice of a premium increase from BCBS. A nice 15% pop. My first couple of years the increase was around 5%, last year 8% and now this. They got us by the short hairs and they know it.
Yep, mine with was 20%, after 22% last year.
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:22 PM   #11
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Ow! I definitely don't like the increases y'all are mentioning in your premiums. But at least it's just once a year; the AARP/Aetna goes up after six months (and then seemingly can be adjusted whenever they so desire).

I guess it would be cost-prohibitive for AARP to actually insure their members through Aetna (group health insurance), but supposedly they make tons of money with other insurance and other products, so as a nonprofit org, you would think it could be feasible.....
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangomonster View Post
I guess it would be cost-prohibitive for AARP to actually insure their members through Aetna (group health insurance), but supposedly they make tons of money with other insurance and other products, so as a nonprofit org, you would think it could be feasible.....
Group coverage is feasible in some states if AARP wanted to do it -- but they wouldn't get a fee for soliciting their members to buy the coverage. That said, state insurance laws about what constitutes a 'group' especially when that group is in all the states (and some foreign countries) with no special commonality other than they paid their annual membership might restrict insurance companies from doing this.

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:12 PM   #13
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There are many association based health plans. The problem AARP would have is that the vast majority of health care costs arise out of treating older people. Any group of older folks is going to cost more and more as they age. I'm three years from Medicare, I'm not prejudiced against the group I'm part of. Without Medicare, the private insurance market would simply ignore old folks. That's why LBJ pushed for it in the first place.
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