AARP has a potential conflict of interest in its fierce opposition to possible cuts in Medicare, the Washington Post reports
The influential lobbying group for Americans over 50 has insisted its fighting potential changes for the good of its 38 million members — but the success of its efforts could mean a difference of hundreds of millions of dollars it makes every year in insurance sales.
According to The Post, AARP gets a 4.95 percent royalty each time one of its members buys Medigap insurance — which supplements Medicare coverage.
Proposed changes in Medicare being discussed in Washington could cut into Medicap and reduce AARP’s huge revenue windfall.
But while AARP is fighting the cuts, a Kaiser Family Foundation study reveals Medigap premiums could fall dramatically under some reform plans, with seniors potentially saving hundreds of dollars per year.
“There is a potential conflict of interest,” Marilyn Moon, a former senior AARP official who runs the nonprofit American Institutes for Research, told the newspaper.
“Any way you look at changes in Medigap that people are talking about, I think it’s good for beneficiaries, and anybody who is opposing that who claims they are looking out for beneficiaries, you have to wonder why.”
AARP officials insist they are only looking out for their members.
Nationally-syndicated columnist Froma Harrop said she’s unsure why AARP is running ads in which a stern female voice warns, “If Washington tries to cram decisions about the future of these programs into a last-minute budget deal, we’ll all pay the price.”
“The AARP ad was a bit unexpected in that the lobbying group for older Americans supported the Affordable Care Act – Medicare savings and all,’’ Harrop writes. “Why it’s running this ad now is unclear.’’
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