AARP – Selling to you AND advocating for you at the same time

Am I just slow on the uptake? How can you simultaneously be an advocate for someone, and also sell them something very expensive and important? If at some point in time, these two tasks conflict, will AARP drop out of the healthcare industry to ensure that its role as advocate does not get compromised? I think not, the conflict of interest simply boggles the mind. How can you write a whole article about this issue and not have CONFLICT OF INTEREST flashing in big bold letters!!

For example, if it is proven that single payer, universal healthcare was the most effective way to ensure that people 50-64 (before they hit medicare, which used to work very much like single payer healthcare without drug coverage until a really complex and crazy drug insurance was written on top of it) were insured and healthy, how would this affect the AARP? They are now in the business of selling you the health insurance that would be rendered less necessary by said policy, what would the AARP do? Somehow, I don’t see them saying “Yeah, we’ll close our multimillion dollar profit making business because it is the right thing to do”.

This is ridiculous!

AARP Says It Will Become Major Medicare Insurer While Remaining a Consumer Lobby – New York Times

AARP, the lobby for older Americans, announced Monday that it would become a major participant in the nation’s health insurance market, offering a health maintenance organization to Medicare recipients and several other products to people 50 to 64 years old.

The products for people under 65 include a managed care plan, known as a preferred provider organization, and a high-deductible insurance policy that could be used with a health savings account.

When the new coverage becomes available next year, AARP will be the largest provider of private insurance to Medicare recipients. In addition to the new H.M.O., AARP will continue providing prescription drug coverage and policies to supplement Medicare, known as Medigap coverage.

William D. Novelli, the chief executive of AARP, said, “In launching these initiatives, we are driven by our mission to create a healthier America.”

The group also said it would use its leverage to reshape the health insurance market. The organization has 38 million members, and Mr. Novelli said it hoped to have 50 million by 2011.

The new Medicare product will be marketed with UnitedHealth Group. Policies for people under 65 will carry the AARP name and will be marketed with Aetna.

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