Besides being a non-profit organization AARP also has AARP Services, for profit selling many kinds of insurance products including AARP Medicare supplement insurance. It acts as an insurance agent for United Healthcare. In 2009 all American Medicare supplement policies paid $19.5 billion in premiums. And insurers paid $15.6 in claims for those policies. And group Medicare supplement policies earned $4.4 billion in premiums. So in some states AARP business is big. But it is very helpful for finding information about Medicare supplemental insurance.
Medicare supplement plans are created to help pay what standard Medicare doesn’t pay, but it doesn’t include Medicare Advantage. For example Medicare doesn’t pay whole bill for first doctor visit in a year. It subtracts deductible. Then Medicare pays certain percentage and leaves coinsurance, which one has to pay together with deductible. There are also other benefits for example paid longer hospital stays. Medicare supplement insurance is highly regulated by federal government and by states. All federal plans are not available in all states. For example Massachusetts has two Medicare supplement plans: one basic with state mandated benefits plan and another, which pays deductible for Medicare part A and part B, skilled nursing homes and foreign emergency.
One should be AARP member or for buying insurance non members would get first year free membership. AARP provides state regulated individual plans (not extended to spouses) and national employer group Medicare supplement plans, where employer decides about plan contribution. Where AARP group Medicare supplement insurance has been available, premium rates have not increased more than 5.4% in last five years.
When buying supplemental Medicare insurance, one needs to consider health needs and costs for best policy. Because of regulations benefits cannot vary, but costs can. So it is good to compare AARP policy with a policy from another company in that state, because different companies may charge different amount for same insurance in same age group.