Trust AARP — to Sell Insurance and Drugs

Trust AARP -- to SellInsurance and Drugs

AARP is shocked! Shocked!  The nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization charged UnitedHealthcare big bucks to use the AARP name on an insurance product, and the insurance stinks!  Thank goodness Senator Chuck Grassley (R, Iowa) faxed AARP a letter about this on November 3rd. AARP will stop sales (of this insurance, anyway) and get an investigator to look into the matter. 

Senator Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which just happens to be holding hearings on health insurance reform. AARP just happens to raise lots of money by fronting and advertising health insurance to older people.

AARP gave Senator Grassley an award on November 16th for being such a champ of oldsters. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D, MT) got one, too. What a coincidence!

Way back in the last century, AARP stood for “The American Association of Retired Persons.” (Grandpa, what’s a “retired person?”)  Nowadays, AARP stands for . . . AARP. Does that mean it stands for nothing? Not really. It stands for itself and its own self-interest.

While AARP remains the largest membership organization in the nation, with 35 million members (10 times more than the National Rifle Association), a big chunk of its annual $800 million budget comes from advertising and licensing use of its name and logo.

AARP claims to represent Americans aged 50 and over, but the organization earns revenue from the health insurance, health care, and pharmaceutical industries. Are there issues more important to seniors than the cost and quality of health insurance, health care, and prescription drugs? 

With a conflict of interest of this magnitude, can AARP be trusted to represent its members against those of its huge corporate funders?

Image by Mike Licht. AARP is a registered trademark of AARP; we use it to prevent even morebrand confusion than AARP already causes by licencing use of this trademark.

3 Responses to “Trust AARP — to Sell Insurance and Drugs”

  1. Leda Sanford Says:

    I have been wondering when some one was going to take note of this aspect of AARP. Their enormous ad budget which allows them to dominate CNN and the television marketplace with false advertsing for auto insurance and health insurance is an affront to the “aged” population they were created to serve.
    There claim of the lowest cost for auto insurance for example is totally untrue as anyone can quickly discover by calling and comparing.
    Ethel Percy Andrus , the founder of AARP must be turning in her grave.

  2. Mike Licht Says:

    Leda Sanford Says: Their enormous ad budget which allows them [AARP] to dominate CNN and the television marketplace with false advertsing for auto insurance and health insurance

    It’s even worse than that. AARP does not itself provide or supervise insurance policies; it licenses use of its name and logo to private insurance companies, and makes more money from that and from insurance company payments for magazine ads and mailing list rentals than from dues paid by individual AARP members who count on the huge nonprofit to represent their interests. A more critical conflict of interests — a betrayal of interests — cannot be imagined. AARP is literally more invested in its relationship with insurance companies than in the millions of older Americans who are AARP members.

    What will it take for nonprofits — associations, museums, universities alumni associations and the like — to realize that this particularly odious “unrelated business practice” of renting an organization’s good name to corporate salesmen is bound to stain their reputations in the long run?

    See

  3. Barbie’s Big Birthday « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] her 3,500 square-foot Pacific Coast Highway dream house. We urge AARP to start a Dolli-Gap line of health insurance and hire the buxom blonde Boomer icon as […]

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