“In 1996, the New York Times said the AARP’s credibility would be at stake if it proceeded with efforts to license its name to managed care plans for a fee because ‘the policies that might be best for the elderly are not always the policies that are best for the bank account of the A.A.R.P.'”
-Forbes, June 23, 2019
Here are some things we think AARP members should know:
AARP’s policy positions are often at odds with its members’ needs.
- AARP opposed Medicare reforms that would apply large discounts on drugs directly to patient’s bills at their local pharmacies. Health insurers and PBMs currently keep these discounts for themselves (AARP letter opposing rebate reform).
- AARP supported price controls that will lead to access restrictions to cutting-edge drugs for diseases, like Alzheimer’s and cancer, higher taxes and stifle R&D in new cures (AARP letter supporting H.R. 3).
- Despite overwhelming opposition from its members, AARP leaders joined health insurers in support of Obamacare, ensuring its market for AARP/UnitedHealth Medigap plans and pre-existing condition waivers. At the time, 46% of people over 65 were against the Obama health plan, with 28% favoring it.
AARP has cozy relationships with health insurers.
AARP’s employees earn more than its members pay in dues.
AARP is being sued by Medicare patients.
- AARP is the subject of several class action lawsuits by Medicare patients, who claim they were deceived into paying undisclosed commissions when they enrolled in AARP-branded supplemental health insurance plans.
- Other lawsuits claim AARP has sought to avoid oversight by insurance regulators and avoid paying taxes on the income generated through sales of AARP-branded health plans sold by United Health.
AARP prioritizes its bottom-line over seniors.
- AARP’s lucrative financial partners, UnitedHealth and OptumRx, have been the subject of numerous investigations and allegations related to billions in overcharges related Medicare.
- State Medicaid systems and other government health programs impacting seniors have also initiated investigations and inquiries related to the practices of United Health and OptumRx.
- Yet, despite such allegations and investigations, and the impact they may have had on seniors, AARP has remained notably silent. They continue to benefit from its partnership with United Health as both AARP’s royalties and United Health’s revenues continue to rise in tandem.