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AARP Medicare Complete – Will it be the Same Next Year?

AARP QuestionsAARP Medicare Complete is a popular plan – but can things change?

If you have ever been a member of an Advantage plan, you know that the annual enrollment period exists for a reason. A good reason. Companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans, contract with CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) for one year at a time. Plans can change on an annual basis. But what about AARP Medicare Complete? It has been a popular plan. Will they change a good thing?

AARP Medicare Complete is available both as a PPO or a HMO, depending which County you live in. Plans are available on a County by County basis. Some of the benefits of choosing AARP Medicare Complete include:

  • Good name recognition among providers and a strong network.
  • $0 premium plans are still available.
  • Part D drug coverage is included.
  • Co-pays are reasonable.
  • Plans include may extra services not usually included in Medicare.

Is AARP Medicare Complete the best choice?

That’s a difficult question to answer. It may be the best choice for one person, but not the next. First, you need to determine whether a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare supplement plan is a better choice for your budget and individual health situation.

A Medicare supplement will fill the gaps left by Medicare, such as the hospital deductible and 20% coinsurance for outpatient services. You will need to make sure that the premium is affordable and that you qualify medically if you are outside of open enrollment or a guaranteed issue period. You will also need to purchase a separate Part D drug plan, as they are not included in a supplement.

What Does A Medicare Supplement Cost?

A Medicare Advantage plan, like AARP Medicare Complete, is not a supplement, but is rather another way to receive your Medicare benefits. You will be subject to enrollment periods and in return for a low or $0 premium, you will have some cost sharing. Cost sharing can include; co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles. Part D is often included. You may need to utilize a network, or at least accept that if you go out of network, you will pay more.

If you decide that an Advantage plan would be right for you, you can visit the Medicare website and see all of the plans available in your area. Information will include, the monthly premium, whether Part D is included and the type of plan. Plan types will typically include PPOs, HMOs and PFFS plans.




AARP Medicare Complete may change next year

I’m not saying that Medicare Complete will change next year, I’m saying that a plan is offered for one contract year at a time, and next year’s plan could be different. Companies can begin to market their new plans beginning October 1st each year. The Annual Enrollment Period starts October 15th and runs through December 7th. If you are set on an Advantage plan, you should give ARRP Medicare Complete a look.

4 comments

  1. What are the plan changes for 2011?

  2. Walter, 2011 Medicare Advantage plans including AARP MedicareComplete are available on a County-by-County basis. The same plan can vary from one County to the next. Visit AARP’s Medicare website and enter you zip code to see plans in your area. One major change to Medicare Advantage plans for 2011 is the closing of the coverage gap. Specifically, paying only 50% for brand name drugs and 93% for generic drugs. Beyond that you will need to view the plan as it is available in your area.

  3. I am enrolled in AARP MedicareComplete Choice Plan 2. I will need a skilled nursing facility (SNF)for a short stay after surgery next week. The plan’s website lists 7 in-network SNF’s in my area. The plan’s customer service rep also referred me to these. I contacted the facilities listed and found that only 3 are currently providing in-network services. One of the 7 is not, and never has been, an SNF. The 3 others listed(the only ones with high ratings for quality)are no longer providing in-network services. In-network costs are $50 day versus $175 day for out-of-network. Plan reps tell me that these facilities can opt of out of network at any time for any reason, and it is up to the facility to inform the plan that they no longer participate. The fact that the plan continues to provide misinformation is extremely unethical and is what I consider to be misrepresentation. I have been unable to get contact information for anyone higher up in the plan. I made an effort to disenroll and go back to straight Medicare coverage, but was told that the last day to change back to Medicare was Feb. 14, 2011 – less than a week before I contacted the plan for SNF in-network providers! If a facility that contracts to provide in-network services on an annual basis is allowed drop out at will, shouldn’t an enrollee be able to do the same? Is there a process for getting an exception to this unfair rule for enrollees? My surgery is March 8, 2011. Help, please.

  4. Lucie, Sounds like your in the middle of a frustrating situation. I’m not sure you will get a different result even if you could contact someone higher up in the plan’s hierarchy. The AARP representatives are correct in telling you that the deadline to withdraw from the plan was February 14. Although, if you had withdrawn in time you would only be able to return to original Medicare where you would have a $1162 Medicare Part A deductible for the hospital and/or the skilled nursing facility.

    You mentioned that the three facilities were not rated highly…. by who? Ask your doctor and other health care professionals which facility they would consider to be your best choice. The rating from the Medicare website or other organization may not be as credible as you think. If your stay is for a short time and your doctor is on the ball you more than likely will be fine.

    As far as the fairness issue, I agree with you 100%. It’s not fair that providers can bail on a commitment but you have such a narrow window to make changes. That said, if you are unwilling to use one of the in-network facilities you have two choices: 1. Open your wallet and pay the difference. 2. File a complaint with Medicare. If you choose the later, contact the Area Council on Aging and they can give you a referral for an advocate that will work on your behalf to help you navigate the process. I’m sorry you are in this situation and I wish you the best of luck.

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