- $16 per year
- $63 for 5 years — $12.60 per year, with a 21 percent discount
- $43 for 3 years — $14.34 per year, with a 10 percent discount
- $12 for the first year if you choose to auto-renew — 25 percent discount
Owners: There isn’t really an owner. CEO is Jo Ann Jenkins. Board Chair is Joan R. Ruff
Overall Rank: 75 out of 100
AARP Product Overview, Should I Join AARP?
AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) is a United States-based interest group whose stated mission is “to empower people to choose how they live as they age. According to the organization, it had more than 38 million members as of 2018. The magazine and bulletin it sends to its members are the two largest-circulation publications in the United States.
AARP was founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus (a retired educator from California) and Leonard Davis (later the founder of the Colonial Penn Group of insurance companies). It is an influential lobbying group in the United States focusing largely on issues affecting the elderly. AARP sells paid memberships, and markets insurance and other services to its members. From Wikipedia.
The Good & The Bad
- AARP advocates for the elderly. They back programs that help the elderly, and lobby against programs that hurt senior citizens. For example: AARP is against cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. AARP is for reducing and controlling drug prices.
- AARP has a huge platform of educational materials to help senior citizens navigate through issues such as taxes, social security, Medicare and Medicaid, education and job training, finding a job that fits in with Social Security, insurance, and many other aspects of senior life.
- With AARP membership, you get huge discounts on insurance, travel, and many other venues.
- AARP endorses hundreds of products used by senior citizens, from cell phones and cell phone service to medical devices.
AARP’s product description is “AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers people to choose how they live as they age” However, there are a few causes that, although they say they are nonpartisan, they are very opinionated on. An example would be “Medicare for All”
“Single payer health care” or “Medicare for all” would not only help seniors, but everyone in the country. I feel that AARP may be biased against “Medicare for all” because this concept by-passes the insurance companies. Because AARP is a huge lobbyist for insurance companies, and are likely paid by insurance companies to lobby for them, they are against “Medicare for all”.
This bothers me, because it makes their concern for seniors seem conditional upon the monetary gain of AARP and its associated insurance partners.
This is strictly MY opinion and not that of my web hosting partners or affiliates.
“According to the group’s official history, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus founded AARP in 1958. AARP evolved from the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA), which Andrus had established in 1947 to promote her philosophy of productive aging, and to promote health insurance for retired teachers. After ten years, she opened the organization to all Americans over 50, creating AARP. Today, the NRTA is a division within AARP.”
Critics of AARP offer an alternative version of the group’s origins. 60 Minutes reported in a 1978 exposé that AARP had been established as a marketing device by Leonard Davis, founder of the Colonial Penn Group insurance companies, after he met Ethel Percy Andrus. According to critics, until the 1980s AARP was controlled by Davis, who promoted its image as a non-profit advocate of retirees in order to sell insurance to members. Possibly as a result of this report, AARP conducted a competitive bidding process, and, in 1980, shifted the insurance contracts available to members to Prudential Financial.”
In the 1990s, the United States Senate investigated AARP’s non-profit status, with Republican Senator Alan K. Simpson, then chairman of the United States Senate Finance Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, questioning the organization’s tax-exempt status in congressional hearings. According to Charles Blahous, the investigations did not reveal sufficient evidence to change the organization’s status, though in an interview years later by The Des Moines Register, Senator Simpson remained “troubled by AARP’s practices”, calling AARP “the biggest marketing operation in America and money-maker” and an organization whose practices are “the greatest abuse of American generosity I witnessed in my time in the U.S. Senate”.
The organization was originally named the American Association of Retired Persons, but in 1999 it officially changed its name to “AARP” (pronounced one letter at a time, “ay ay ar pea”) to reflect that its focus was no longer American retirees. AARP no longer requires that members be retired, and there are no longer any age restrictions even for a full membership.”
This is from Wikipedia
Who is AARP For?
AARP is mainly for people over 50. It used to be mainly for retired people, but has been opened up to 50-year-olds, and with special permission, younger people can also join.
AARP Tools & Training
Here is a list of just SOME of the tools available at AARP. There are hundreds more, and you need no training at all to use them:
- Hearing Center
- BMI Calculator
- Pill Identifyer
- Brain Health Assessment
- Symptom Checker
- Free Phone Hearing Test
- Travel Center
- Car Rental Finder
- Take On Today Podcast
- TV For Grownups
- Job Board
- Driver Safety
- Block Party
- Long Term Care Calculator
- Resume Adviser
- Social Security Benefits Calculator
AARP’s Support page is full of helpful places to turn for help. You can type in your question, or look it up on FAQ.
Here is a list of items you can get help with:
AARP Programs and Discounts
AARP has literally hundreds of merchant partners where discounts and programs are available for AARP members. Here is a list of general discounts you can receive:
- Insurance: Life, Home, Mobile Home, Car, Boat, Motor Cycle, RV, ATV-Snowmobile-Golf Cart, Long Term Care, Hearing, Vision, Dental, Medigap, Prescription Drug, Pet Care
- Health: HSA Accounts, In-Home Care, Pharmacies and Drug Stores, Glasses and Hearing Aid providers
- Travel: Restaurants, Hotels, Car Rental, Airplane Tickets, Train Tickets, Cruises, Vacation Packages, Road Side Assistance
- Home: Moving Companies, Truck Rental, Clothing, Groceries, Gifts, Cell Phone Service, Shipping, Home Security, Housing and Mobility Resources, Automobile Purchases
- Entertainment: Movie Tickets, Concessions, Ticketmaster, Grand Pad, Books, Magazines
- Finance: Taxes, Banking
My Final Opinion of AARP
In the course of researching AARP, I actually joined. I had been thinking about it for a while, but since I have been writing about it, I decided that the good that AARP does far outweighs the sketchy history, the questionable tax-exempt status, and their political views, which aren’t all against my opinions. There are a lot of tools available that I will need in the very near future, and a lot of answers I can share with my readers.
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AARP at a Glance…
CEO: Jo Ann Jenkins
Board Chair: Joan R. Ruff
Price: $16 per year
Overall Rank: 75 out of 100
Please leave your comments and questions below, and thank you for reading!
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AARP really seem to offer a lof of services all in one spot. Just for that reason alone it seems to be worthwhile. You won’t have to go to any other page or use google to find other services, it’s all right there. And for a reasonable amount too. Just one question: Is there a way to interact with other people on the platform too?
Hi Petra. Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, I did find a place where there were interactive forums. The one I looked at was about how Republicans want to reduce spending on Social Security and Medicare. There was a great variety of opinions. It was that forum that changed my mind about joining AARP, as I thought their political bend was towards everything Republican, and it’s not. So…yes there are over 40 forums and community discussion venues at AARP including Health, Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Rock and Roll, and many many more. Thank you again, Petra for your comments and question! Rhonda
I think the benefits that AARP offers are really fantastic. Elderly people are often overlooked in ways they should not be so it’s great to see that some people are paying attention to the needs that most of them might have. Things can get really difficult for some elderly people who live on a fixed income. So if they can get some benefits by joining AARP, by all means. I definitely support that! It definitely will help to allow them to live life on their terms.
Hi Vanessa, Thanks for your comments. I like what you said about how difficult it is to live on a fixed income for some elderly people. Those people need AARP’s advocacy more than ever. I was surprised and happy to see just how many benefits there are, and to see AARP supporting worthy causes that are important to me. Thank you again for stopping by my website, and thanks for the comments! Rhonda