AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Insurance 2022 Review

by Ann deBruyn

AARP’s Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are insured exclusively by UnitedHealthcare. The AARP and UnitedHealthcare co-branded plans are available in every state and Washington, D.C.

UnitedHealthcare is the largest provider of Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap, and of Medicare Advantage plans [1] .

AARP/UnitedHealthcare offers most Medigap plan types — often with multiple options for pricing and extra benefits. Prices are competitive, and complaint rates for the company’s Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are considerably lower than the market average.

Here’s what you should know about AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance from UnitedHealthcare.

AARP/UHC Medicare Supplement Insurance pros and cons

AARP and UnitedHealthcare’s Medigap offerings have advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

Cons

  • Plenty of plan types: Nine of the 10 standard Medigap plan types are available to qualifying applicants.

  • Available everywhere: Plans are available in every state — even Massachusetts, which competitors tend to skip.

  • Customers are happy: Customers complain about AARP/UHC Medigap plans at relatively low rates, and UHC does well on third-party customer satisfaction ratings.

  • Extra perks add cost: The health and wellness discounts sold as “wellness extras” are sometimes costly, while some competitors include similar perks for free.

  • Plan types can be confusing: Some plans are offered with as many as three variations, each with different pricing, extras and restrictions.

  • Lowest-priced plans have network requirements: Medicare Select plans have lower premiums, but only work if you can stay in-network for inpatient care.

Available Medicare Supplement Insurance plans

  • Medigap Plan A — the basic benefits included in every Medigap plan without any extras.

  • Medigap Plan B — basic benefits plus coverage for the Medicare Part A deductible.

  • Medigap Plan D — a mid-cost option that covers most Medigap benefits.

  • Medigap Plan G — the highest-coverage option available to new Medicare members.

  • Medigap Plan K — the lowest-cost Medigap plan, with 50% coverage for most benefits.

  • Medigap Plan L — a low-cost option with 75% coverage for most benefits.

  • Medigap Plan N — a plan with lower premiums but higher copays.

Plans A, B, G, K, L and N are generally available in all locations, while Plan D is less widely offered.

Medigap Plan C and Medigap Plan F are also available for beneficiaries who were eligible to enroll in Medicare prior to 2020. Newer Medicare members can’t buy these plans from any insurer.

In addition, AARP and UnitedHealthcare offer plans in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin according to each state's Medigap plan standards, which differ from the standardization system used in the majority of the country.

Medicare Select policies add network requirements

AARP and UnitedHealthcare offer Medicare Select policies in some locations. These plans cover the same Medicare services as any Medigap plan of the same type, but it requires beneficiaries to get inpatient services from in-network hospitals and health care providers.

In exchange for the network restrictions, Select plans offer lower premiums than their non-Select counterparts.

If you have a Medicare Select plan and get services from an out-of-network hospital, you become responsible for the Medicare Part A deductible, which is $1,556 in 2022. Exceptions are available for emergency services, services not available from an in-network hospital and when you’re more than 100 miles from home.

Select plans aren’t available in all areas or for all Medigap plan types. Enter your ZIP code on UnitedHealthcare’s website to check what’s available to you and to compare prices for Select and non-Select plans.

Medigap plans have standardized Medicare benefits, but insurers can offer additional perks. Here are examples of extra benefits available with some AARP/UnitedHealthcare policies:

  • 24/7 nurse line: Members can call to speak with a nurse to ask questions, discuss concerns or get help accessing community resources.

  • Gym memberships: Some plans include gym memberships at no additional cost.

  • Discounts for dental, hearing and vision: Some plans include discounts on dental services, eye exams, eyewear and hearing devices from certain providers.

  • Driver safety course: Some plans grant members access to the AARP Smart Driver course. Completing that course might help members qualify for auto insurance discounts.

Note: In some cases, extra perks are included only in plans sold with the “+ wellness extras” label. In most cases, these extras carry an additional cost over a version of the same plan without the extras. However, in some states, such as Colorado, there is no option — plans automatically include the extras even though there’s no “+ wellness extras” label.

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Insurance service area

AARP offers UnitedHealthcare-insured Medicare Supplement Insurance plans in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

UnitedHealthcare is by far the largest Medicare Supplement Insurance provider. The company covers about 4.4 million Medigap beneficiaries, and its share of the total Medicare Supplement Insurance market is about 33.7% [2] .

The following price quotes were obtained for three states representing above-average, average and below-average costs for Medicare Supplement Insurance, when compared across all plans and providers using pricing data from Medicare.gov  [3] :

  • Colorado: More expensive than average.

  • North Carolina: Average cost for the U.S.

  • Ohio: Less expensive than average.

The sections below show pricing information from UnitedHealthcare for a 65-year-old female nonsmoker and reflect base pricing with discounts removed or factored out whenever the option was available. (Note: Some Medigap prices may be higher for males.)

For comparison, each table also includes the price for the least-expensive option to buy the same plan from other providers, based on information from Medicare.gov. For example, AARP/UnitedHealthcare’s price for Medigap Plan A in Fort Collins, Colorado, appears alongside the lowest price on Medicare.gov for all Plan A policies available in Fort Collins to an applicant with identical demographics.

Plan A

On average, AARP/UnitedHealthcare’s lowest quoted prices for Medigap Plan A were about 15% higher than the least-expensive Plan A policy in the area.

Get details on AARP/UHC's rates for Medigap Plan A

When both options were offered, Plan A + wellness extras was about $5.77 less expensive than the standard Plan A offering in the same area, on average.

Nerdy tip: Even if you don’t find the extras compelling, compare the prices of all available plans just in case you can get lower premiums with a + wellness plan. In some cases, quoted prices for a plan with wellness extras were actually lower than the same plan without any extras.

AARP/UHC-quoted price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Fort Collins, Colorado

Plan A: $78.40*.

$70.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Plan A: $100.50.

Plan A + wellness extras: $94.39.

$81.

Sandusky, Ohio

Plan A: $85.63.

Plan A + wellness extras: $80.21.

$69.

* AARP/UHC Medigap Plan A policies offered in Fort Collins, Colorado, automatically include wellness extras.

Plan B

On average, AARP/UnitedHealthcare’s quoted prices for Medigap Plan B were about 16% higher than the least-expensive Plan B policy in the area.

Get details on AARP/UHC's rates for Medigap Plan B

In each of the locations used for this review, AARP/UnitedHealthcare only offered Plan B with wellness extras included.

AARP/UHC-quoted price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Fort Collins, Colorado

Plan B: $105.28*.

$95.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Plan B + wellness extras: $125.35.

$103.

Sandusky, Ohio

Plan B + wellness extras: $120.62.

$105.

* AARP/UHC Medigap Plan B policies offered in Fort Collins, Colorado, automatically include wellness extras.

Plan G

On average, UnitedHealthcare’s lowest quoted prices for non-Select Medigap Plan G policies were about 17% higher than the least-expensive Plan G policy in the area.

Get details on AARP/UHC's rates for Medigap Plan G

When the option was offered, adding wellness extras cost an average of $4.59 per month.

Opting for a Medicare Select version of Plan G offered an average savings of $20.73 compared to standard Plan G without wellness extras, and an average savings of $25.32 compared to standard Plan G + wellness extras. (UnitedHealthcare doesn’t offer Select Plan G without wellness extras in any of the states used for this review.)

AARP/UHC-quoted price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Fort Collins, Colorado

Plan G: $107.68*.

$97.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Plan G: $106.90.

Plan G + wellness extras: $107.97.

Select Plan G + wellness extras: $86.46.

$87.

Sandusky, Ohio

Plan G: $108.55.

Plan G + wellness extras: $116.66.

Select Plan G + wellness extras: $87.53.

$92.

* AARP/UHC Medigap Plan G policies offered in Fort Collins, Colorado, automatically include wellness extras.

Plan K

On average, AARP/UnitedHealthcare’s quoted prices for Medigap Plan K were about 17% higher than the least-expensive Plan K policy in the area.

Get details on AARP/UHC's rates for Medigap Plan K

In each of the locations used for this review, AARP/UnitedHealthcare only offered Plan K with wellness extras included.

AARP/UHC-quoted price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Fort Collins, Colorado

Plan K: $36.80*.

$32.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Plan K + wellness extras: $52.76.

$45.

Sandusky, Ohio

Plan K + wellness extras: $46.81.

$39.

* AARP/UHC Medigap Plan K policies offered in Fort Collins, Colorado, automatically include wellness extras.

Plan L

On average, UnitedHealthcare’s quoted prices for Medigap Plan L were about 32% higher than the least-expensive Plan L policy in the area.

Get details on AARP/UHC's rates for Medigap Plan L

In each of the locations used for this review, AARP/UnitedHealthcare only offered Plan L with wellness extras included.

AARP/UHC-quoted price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Fort Collins, Colorado

Plan L: $69.76*.

$62.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Plan L + wellness extras: $83.72.

$59.

Sandusky, Ohio

Plan L + wellness extras: $89.97.

$64.

* AARP/UHC Medigap Plan L policies offered in Fort Collins, Colorado, automatically include wellness extras.

Plan N

On average, AARP/UnitedHealthcare’s lowest quoted prices for non-Select Medigap Plan N policies were about 26% higher than the least-expensive Plan N policy in the area.

Get details on AARP/UHC's rates for Medigap Plan N

When the option was offered, adding wellness extras cost an average of $17.60 per month.

Opting for a Medicare Select version of Plan N offered an average savings of $5.88 compared with standard Plan N without wellness extras, and an average savings of $23.48 compared with standard Plan N + wellness extras. (UnitedHealthcare doesn’t offer Select Plan N without wellness extras in any of the states used for this review.)

AARP/UHC-quoted price

Medicare.gov lowest price

Fort Collins, Colorado

Plan N : $93.44*.

$70.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Plan N: $85.08.

Plan N + wellness extras: $102.17.

Select Plan N + wellness extras: $81.74.

$68.

Sandusky, Ohio

Plan N: $87.87.

Plan N + wellness extras: $105.98.

Select Plan N + wellness extras: $79.45.

$73.

* AARP/UHC Medigap Plan N policies offered in Fort Collins, Colorado, automatically include wellness extras.

AARP membership

You need to have an AARP membership to enroll in an AARP-branded insurance policy. An AARP membership generally costs $16 per year. Discounts are available if you sign up for automatic renewal or longer memberships terms.

Discounts

Here are several discounts AARP and UnitedHealthcare offer to some Medicare Supplement Insurance applicants:

  • Multiple policies: Qualifying members can get up to 15% off of monthly premiums if two or more members with the same AARP membership number have eligible AARP-branded Medigap policies. This discount can’t be combined with the household discount.

  • Household: Qualifying members can get a discount of up to 10% off of monthly premiums if they live with another household member who is also an AARP member. This discount can’t be combined with the multiple policy discount.

  • Electronic funds transfer: Qualifying members can get up to $4 per month off of premiums for paying with an electronic funds transfer from their bank account.

Available discounts can vary according to factors such as your location, household status and how you apply for a policy.

UnitedHealthcare’s spending on care

71.7% for member benefits

Medicare Supplement Insurance providers are required to report data on the premiums they collect and how much they spend to provide benefits for members.

Based on the most recent year of data, AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Insurance plans spend about 71.7% of premiums on member benefits  [4] . (The other 28.3% goes to overhead expenses like administrative costs, marketing, salaries and commissions.)

For comparison, the average for all providers is 72.3%. The minimum required by law for individual Medigap policies is 60% [5] .

63% below average

Members file complaints about AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Insurance plans at a rate almost 63% below the average for all Medigap plans. This is according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for UnitedHealthcare and its subsidiaries that sell Medigap policies [6] .

Other types of insurance offered by UnitedHealthcare and those subsidiaries don’t have as few complaints, with complaint rates across all policy types about 7% above the average for all insurers over the same three years of data.

Here’s how AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medigap members can contact customer service:

  • Call UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Insurance customer service at 800-523-5800 (TTY dial 711 and follow the prompts).

  • Contact UnitedHealthcare through Facebook .

  • Contact UnitedHealthcare through  Twitter .

There are a few companies that weigh in on customers’ experiences with insurers or the strength of the company in question, and we’ve included two here:

American Customer Satisfaction Index: 74 out of 100

The American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI, rates consumer satisfaction with products and services based on a scientific model developed at the University of Michigan. Ratings are derived from surveys that measure consumers’ expectations and perceived quality and value of products and services.

In 2021, UnitedHealthcare scored 74 out of 100 on the ACSI health insurance satisfaction benchmark [7] . ACSI measures satisfaction with the health insurance industry as a whole — the benchmark isn’t specific to Medicare Supplement Insurance. For comparison, the highest score was 75 and the health insurance industry average was 73.

AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A+

AM Best is a credit rating agency that specializes in the insurance industry. In December 2021, AM Best upgraded its Financial Strength Rating, or FSR, from A (Excellent) to A+ (Superior) for the majority of UnitedHealth Group subsidiaries, including all of the rated subsidiaries that offer Medicare Supplement Insurance [8] .

An A+ rating in this category indicates that AM Best believes the UnitedHealth Group subsidiaries have a superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations.

AARP is a nonprofit interest group and advocacy organization. It advocates for local, state and national policies on behalf of older Americans. AARP members can access benefits through the organization, including discounts on products and services.

UnitedHealthcare is part of UnitedHealth Group, which is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. It's the largest health insurance company in the U.S. The company offers individual- and employer-based health insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid plans, dental and vision plans and other types of supplemental insurance. In 2021, UnitedHealthcare reported $222.9 billion in revenue.

Find the right Medicare Supplement Insurance plan

Because Medigap plans are standardized, you can get precisely the same Medicare benefits from any insurer offering the plan. So when you shop, keep these considerations in mind to find the best policy to fit your needs:

  • Is your preferred plan available? Insurers don’t always sell every plan, so check who sells the plan you want to buy in your area.

  • What are the premiums? Prices for the same plan can vary between insurers, so check to find the most competitive rates.

  • Will your premiums change over time? Will the insurer charge more as you age, or can you lock in a price when you sign up?

  • Are there extras? Medigap plans’ core benefits are standardized, but some insurers include such perks as discount programs or gym memberships.

If you have additional questions about Medicare, visit  Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY 877-486-2048).

ARTICLE SOURCES