America’s current healthcare and political climate has many senior citizens troubled about their health providers and financial future. Troubles with the Affordable Health Care Act, aka Obamacare, are mounting with news indicating more costs increases. Last summer, citizens learned the IRS put tens of thousands of tax refunds on hold due to another Obamacare caused delay. Later, the White House announced that 800,000 enrollees received the wrong IRS forms causing them to face more delays, and the headache of updating or amending their taxes with new forms.
While the Obama Administration and IRS continue to experience problems, more bad news is around the corner as 2016 approaches. Patients, especially the elderly, will be walking into their doctor’s offices presenting new and confusing, insurance policies, most with higher deductibles, and causing more chaos.
For many years, AARP was a support group some seniors turned to for benefits tailored to them. In the past few years, hundreds of thousands of seniors have decided to cancel their AARP membership in favor of alternative organizations.
AARP blamed the weak economy, but the primary catalyst, or “last straw” for the massive drops in AARP membership numbers was their 2009 decision to support Obamacare. While AARP membership tumbled, millions of American seniors upset with President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act went elsewhere. AARP dropped from 40 million members to less than 37 million since 2008. Similar to the American Medical Association (AMA), which has also experienced enormous membership losses, both organizations have benefited greatly from Obamacare.
AARP and AMA, once the organizations seniors and doctors turned to for principal advocacy support, have now mutated into sponsors and profiteers of the Obama healthcare agenda. AARP has turned into an insurance company through its subsidiary company. AARP is now earning over half a billion dollars in payments from their Medicare supplemental plans, dental insurance and other products sold by third parties under their specific brand names. AMA now only represents just 14% of U.S. doctors, but profits heavily on being the keeper of government health payment coding.
Anger from the nation’s physicians continues to grow with the lingering confusion of Obamacare now going into a third year since the rollout of Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces. Persistent glitches with exchange complications, enrollment postponements and uncertain plan networks, interrupt doctors’ office processes and affect patients’ rights for sensible healthcare.
Critics know that AARP is a key supplier of the high-costing Medi-gap insurance that took up where Medicare leaves off. More than 10 million seniors chose President George W. Bush’s signed Medicare Advantage program that offers extra coverage, coordinated and better managed care, and generally from their existing doctor. Obama’s Medi-gap insurance not only costs more than Medicare Advantage, the AARP profits more.
AMA was long the advocate for the nation’s doctors and “abandoned the needs of the physician years ago and has its own agenda,” states Dr. John Tedeschi, a primary-family care doctor in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
“Doctoring just isn’t the same,” Dr. Tedeschi, who has been practicing medicine for more than 30 year says. “The practice of medicine, its costs and medical policies, are now dictated and controlled by groups that don’t know the first thing about medicine, nor the people it serves.”
The AMA, who for decades made their money from physician dues, has been bleeding profusely with membership decline. Membership has declined by over 75,000 since 2002. But somehow, they are reporting growing revenues. In 2012 it was $239 million, with $70 million coming from “Royalty Revenue.”
The AMA is paid, in their partnership with the government, by the medical coding records system they created that is mandated for all doctors and hospitals. They are required to bill the government or private insurance through this system, but the constant changes of the bureaucracies and politics insures a continuing and ever growing cash flow. Forget that it is bankrupting our doctors, slowing our patient care, and creating a whole new variety of grim medical errors. By changing their position for Obamacare, the AMA may be losing credibility with doctors, but they are certainly earning more money.
Here are some of the alternative organizations seniors are turning toward, to get away from AARP:
AMAC (Association of Mature American Citizens)
Founded in 2007, AMAC is closing in on two million members. AMAC advocates more conservative political points of view with hearty benefits. This appeals to seniors who favor the right on political issues but want discounts similar to what AARP offers.
AMAC say they are proud of their belief in God, with a mission to help seniors fight high taxes and preserve American values. Some of their discounts and other benefits include auto insurance discounts, 10%+ discounts at restaurants, stores and businesses participating in the AMAC network, group health insurance, hotel and motel discounts, homeowner’s insurance discounts, long-term care insurance, and medicare supplemental insurance.
Conservative 50 Plus Alliance
Conservative 50 says they offer an “alliance for seniors who do NOT want to support a liberal agenda. We are one of the nations fastest growing alliances of conservatives determined to stop to the destruction of our freedom. By adding your voice to ours we will grow this alliance into a voice that can rival that of the AARP.”
The organization says they have members in all states and Puerto Rico who joined to “create a powerful voice” and “support political perspectives on topics that matter to you.” They offer member discounts on supplemental health care, prescription drugs, travel and more. Their website also links to a Government Contact Center for instant access to all Congressional Representatives and provides monthly newsletter updates.
60 Plus Association
60 Plus was found in 1992 as “a non-partisan seniors advocacy group with a free enterprise, less government, less taxes approach to seniors issues,” according to their website. Their key legislative priority is “ending the federal estate tax and saving Social Security for the young.” 60 Plus is more attentive on political advocacy than participant discounts. 60 Plus says they have over 7 million members and is free to join.
ASA (American Seniors Association)
Founded in 2005, ASA bills themselves as “The New Voice for America’s Seniors.” They offers travel and prescription discounts, but strongly focused on senior related public policy matters. ASA’s “Five Foundations” include rebuilding national values respecting America’s seniors, reforming Social Security (via a private account solution), reforming Medicare (to include more choice), reforming the tax code, and controlling government overspending. Their position is against illegal aliens being allowed Social Security. They say they are approaching 2 million members.
TSC (The Seniors Coalition)
TSC says it is over 4 million strong and offer health, insurance, and travel discounts. They were founded in 1989 to against the unpopular and brief Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act (that forced many seniors to pay for coverage they didn’t want). Cost to join: $13.50/year.
This fast growing organization focuses on both supporting more conservative political views of most seniors and providing discounts and benefits to their membership. They point out that AARP and AMAC have subsidiary insurance companies that make profit by selling policies. Generation America costs a bit more because they do not profit from insurance sells. Cost to join: $24/year (lower rates available for longer terms), spouse is free.
How to cancel an AARP membership:
- Seniors interested in cancelling their AARP membership should have their AARP card ready and call 1-888-687-2277 for English, or 1-877-627-3350 for Spanish.
- Listen to the automated message and say “yes” when asked if you are an AARP member. Say “membership card” when asked what you are calling about. A customer service representative will ask a few questions and help you end the membership.
- Memberships can also be cancelled online, or by emailing your AARP representative at firstname.lastname@example.org.