As a social welfare organization, as well as, the nation's largest membership organization for people aged 50 Plus, AARP is leading a revolution in the way people view and live life. AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, is a United States-based non-governmental organization and interest group, founded by Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus in 1958 and based in Washington, D.C. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50 and over improve the quality of their lives.
AARP Facts and Statistics
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 in response to the need of health insurance for retired teachers.
Diagram of a number of inter-connected cogs and gears with medical symbols on each one.
After ten years, Andrus opened the organization to all Americans over 50, creating AARP. Approximately seven million people have AARP branded health insurance, including drug coverage and Medigap, as of April 2007 and AARP earns more income from selling insurance to members than it does from membership dues.
- AARP is not an insurer and does not pay insurance claims. Instead, AARP allows its name to be used by insurance companies in the sale of insurance products, for which it is paid a commission like an insurance agent.
- AARP operates as a non-profit advocate for its members and as one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States, and it also sells insurance, investment funds and other financial products.
- AARP claims over 40 million members, making it one of the largest membership organizations in the United States with offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- AARP is also widely known for addressing issues affecting older Americans through a multitude of initiatives, including lobbying efforts at the state and national governmental level, an activity permitted by its 501(c) status.
- AARP has been active in health care policy debates since c. 1960 and its recent engagement is a reflection of this long-standing involvement.
- AARP's public stances influenced the United States Congress' passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, which authorized the creation of Medicare Part D, in 2003, and also influenced the Congress by resisting radical changes to Social Security in 2005.
- Approximately seven million people have AARP branded health insurance plans, including drug coverage and Medigap.
- AARP earns more income from selling insurance to members than it does from membership dues.
- AARP offers several new health insurance products: An HMO for Medicare recipients, in partnership with UnitedHealth Group; and a PPO and "a high-deductible insurance policy that could be used with a health savings account" to people aged 50 - 64, in partnership with Aetna.
- AARP will likely become the largest source of health insurance for Medicare recipients, and AARP estimates the new products will increase its health insurance customers to 14 million by 2014.
The AARP Foundation is AARP's affiliated charity dedicated to serving vulnerable people 50+ by creating solutions that help them secure the essentials and achieve their best life. AARP subscribes to the Malcolm Baldridge definition of diversity, which refers to valuing and benefiting from personal differences. These differences address many variables; including race, religion, color, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age and generational preferences, education, geographic origin, and skill characteristics; as well as differences in ideas, thinking, academic disciplines, and perspectives.