CONTACT: Michael DeSantis
AARP’s 2022 990 Reveals Over $1.1 Billion in Annual Corporate Royalty Payments
Mostly From a Single Health Insurance Conglomerate: UnitedHealth Group
Washington, D.C. — November 14, 2023 — AARP’s 2022 990 form confirmed its recent audited financial statement, revealing that the “seniors advocacy organization” was paid more than $1.1 billion via corporate royalties last year. Based on historical analysis and assumptions, most of those funds are likely attributable to a single company, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group (UHG). UHG is one of the nation’s largest health insurance and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) corporations. Its vast subsidiary businesses also include primary and urgent care practices, home health services, specialty pharmacies, health IT companies and more.
AARP set records with corporate royalty payments exceeding $1 billion in each of the last two years. Meanwhile, AARP saw a further decline in membership dues in 2022, similar to the previous year. These figures were released soon after the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which made significant changes to the nation’s Medicare program. Many critics continue to view the IRA as a potential windfall for big insurer-PBMs such as UnitedHealth Group, given new price control measures and unrelated insurance subsidies funded from the bill’s projected Medicare drug savings.
As part of its Commitment to Seniors initiative, American Commitment has worked to highlight the AARP’s financial conflict of interests with big health insurer-PBMs generally and UHG specifically. Recent examples include not only AARP’s support and 60 million dollar campaign to pass the highly politicized IRA, but also its reluctance to advocate visibly for bipartisan PBM and copay reforms to prevent big insurer-PBMs from pocketing rebates and discounts meant for Medicare patients. The IRA not only diverted billions in funds intended for Medicare to unrelated spending; it prioritized those special interest programs before most of the IRA’s drug provisions were to be implemented for seniors in Medicare.
“AARP’s annual billion-dollar haul of corporate royalties is their lifeblood, and the reason AARP prioritizes the agenda of health insurance giant UnitedHealth and its PBM division OptumRx, over the interests of its membership and seniors across the country,” stated Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment. “AARP’s 2022 990 proves once again exactly why AARP was the #1 cheerleader for the so-called Inflation Reduction Act. That misnamed bill has done little to nothing to lower costs for most seniors – but it did divert billions from Medicare to fund unrelated spending like green energy subsidies and supersized Obamacare subsidies to big insurers like UnitedHealth.”
“Meanwhile, on other critical debates in which UnitedHealth’s business practices are being called into question – like bipartisan PBM reforms or questions over billions in overcharges to Medicare – AARP is missing in action. No TV ads, no grassroots campaigns, literally nothing. It’s clear who AARP truly advocates for these days, and it’s not seniors,” continued Kerpen.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting our nation’s commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom. American Commitment engages in critical public policy fights over the size and intrusiveness of government through direct advocacy, strategic policy analysis, and grassroots mobilization. Visit us online at www.AmericanCommitment.org.