And I quote: "AARP is cooler than you think." So says the AARP’s blog. And hey, only one of the actors listed as appearing in its latest PSA campaign (no, not that kind of PSA, the other kind of PSA) is eligible for membership. The campaign is said to "highlight the need for affordable, quality health care and financial security for all Americans."
Well, that’s great, but I take all things AARP with a grain of salt, and have to wonder how far it goes in promoting the financial interests of the organization, rather than its membership or its newly-announced target audience: all Americans (and you thought 50 was too young for AARP membership!).
My current cynicism about AARP can mostly be traced to the Medicare Part D experience — when the association did not trumpet the fact that it was a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan sponsor wannabe while it was promoting the legislation that prohibited central purchasing (which would have lowered prescription drug prices for all Medicare D members).
Now that it scooped a bunch of that business, AARP’s cheaper plan is headed for a 65% premium increase (subscribers to a more expensive plan are looking at a mere 16% bump). See today’s Wall Street Journal for more info (registration or subscription may be required) — the chart reproduced in the margin is from the WSJ. The article notes:
Most of the private insurers that provide the drug benefit are raising premiums for 2008 — with the average premium from the top three plans set to rise 27% from 2007 levels, according to a new analysis of data from the federal government and private insurers. Many plans will require beneficiaries to shoulder a larger share of the costs of drugs that are covered. And many people will see significant cutbacks on coverage of their medications during the "doughnut hole" gap in coverage.
No big surprise here, since many plans started out with somewhat artificially lowered premiums in order to gain a foothold in a new insurance market.
Check out further info on Medicare D plans at www.medicare.gov. Here’s hoping the folks affected by these premium hikes can navigate the data.
But, hey, AARP’s cool. They even embedded a YouTube version of a PSA in their blog post. How cool is that?