That decline might be marked from the introduction of Part D of Medicare, which covers prescription drugs. Many seniors, particularly economists such as myself, found that 1990s legislation to be far from ideal for us, indeed far below the mark of providing affordable prescriptions. We were quite surprised when AARP not only endorsed that adverse bill, but campaigned vigorously for it. It was only after Part D passed the U.S. Congress that I realized why AARP was so supportive "" the reason was that AARP was in the process of offering its own supplemental coverage in that area and the less that was provided by Medicare, the more AARP could charge to insure seniors against such poor legislation. Like many others, I was astounded at AARP's crass and callous endorsement of such a bad bill.
AARP's trend towards offering seniors bad deals has continued and, indeed, grown vastly since then. Now, auto insurance, travel and a travel club, other medical coverage, credit cards, and a host of "benefits"- are available through AARP "" mostly at inflated prices and with adverse terms. Take their auto insurance provided through The Hartford insurance company. The last time I compared costs, I would have paid several hundred dollars more on our vehicles through the AARP insurance than what I was paying with another company after careful shopping for rates. Indeed, the AARP/Hartford insurance consultant with whom I spoke himself told me, "Stay with your present coverage; we can't offer you nearly as good a deal."-
Much the same is true of AARP's other not-so-good deals for seniors, on top of which our confidential information goes to third parties. Meanwhile, while AARP still pays lip service to legislative issues, and indeed does some good on those issues at the State level, there are mainly the Sounds of Silence as to national needs and national legislation. The present economic stimulus package should have had major and serious input from AARP as America's seniors struggle with very limited incomes and rising costs "" but it did not. I haven't seen much from AARP as to how senior investors can reduce the risks of investment losses, or how the SIPC (Securities Investors Protection Corporation) can provide compensation in fraud cases such as the Bernie Madoff scandal. Many other examples of not-so-benign neglect could be cited.
Further communications with AARP on this and the other matters above, including to their CEO, from this particular long-term member, have been totally ignored "" just as the real needs of America's seniors have been mainly ignored by AARP in recent years. And that is the most shameful truth of all.