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October 1, 2009
The Honorable David G. Reichert
U.S. House of Representatives
1730 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-4708
Dear Representative Reichert:
Thank you for your letter of September 21 regarding AARP’s position on health care reform and the impact of pending proposals on Medicare Advantage enrollees. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to correct a number of misimpressions about AARP’s role in the current debate and about our branded health insurance product offerings.
Let me be clear on the following points:
In response to your specific questions, I am pleased to provide the following information:
Answer to Question 1: AARP does not have access to which Medicare-eligible members are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Information on the AARP-branded plan is confidential and proprietary to United HealthCare Insurance Company (“United”) and AARP does not have permission to disclose it.
Answer to Question 2: United has informed us that, as of the end of 2008, 9,618,221 people are enrolled in all Medicare Supplemental plans nationally, including plan types A-L, pre-standard plans and modified plans offered in so-called “waiver states.” Of that total, 2,789,889 are in AARP-branded plans.
Answer to Question 3: AARP publicly reports total royalty income from all service providers on its audited financial statements, including those which offer health insurance products, financial products, lifestyle products and others. Total royalty income from 1999 through 2008 average $339.7 million per year.
Answer to Question 4: All of the royalties for all of the products are included in the publicly reported totals for AARP’s audited financial statements above.
Answer to Question 5: First, AARP does not employ any insurance sales agents. United has informed us that between January 2008 and June 2009, it terminated eighteen field sales agents who sold either AARP-branded Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage plans or both, in response to marketing complaints. United has reported all of those sales individuals to their respective state Departments of Insurance for appropriate action.
Answer to Question 6: Again, AARP has not endorsed any of the pending bills. As for membership numbers, between July 1 and September 18, less than one-half of 1% of our members indicated to us that they have dropped their membership due to AARP’s efforts on health care reform. Further indicators point to little impact on overall membership, as during the same time period, more than 740,000 people joined AARP and nearly 2.7 million members renewed their memberships.
Thank you again for providing me this opportunity to clarify AARP’s role in the health care reform debate.
Thomas C. Nelson
Chief Operating Officer
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