AARP President Letter to the Editor to the Wall Street Journal Re: Health Reform

 Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–January 18, 2011.

Few understand better than AARP that health reform often sparks strong feelings on both sides of the debate. While we don’t agree with everyone, we don’t question their motives. Everyone is striving to solve the health-care challenges before us. Unfortunately, Karl Rove’s “ObamaCare Rewards Friends, Punishes Enemies” (op-ed, Jan. 6) is wrong about AARP and its insurance products. While there are insurance products that carry the AARP name, they are underwritten by insurers such as UnitedHealth Group, Delta Dental, Aetna and others—not AARP.

AARP is not an insurer, and never has been—we work to ensure products meet our standards and provide value to our members. Regulations on the insurance industry don’t apply to us any more than regulations on the paper industry apply to the Journal. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social welfare organization with a membership, not an insurance company.

Specifically, the Medigap plans that carry the AARP name are underwritten by United HealthGroup and already meet or exceed many of the “exemptions” Mr. Rove discusses.

We agree with Mr. Rove, however, about the need to eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions from all insurance markets, including the Medigap market. AARP believes no one should be denied coverage because of his medical history and we supported legislation last year that would end pre-existing condition exclusions in Medigap plans.

We would welcome Mr. Rove’s passion to the cause of eliminating that hurdle.

W. Lee Hammond

AARP President and Volunteer