AARP versus American Seniors Association (ASA) and the Health Care Debate

by Derrick on August 20, 2009

AARP‘s support, or limited support (depending on whether you ask President Obama or AARP), of the President’s Health Care Plan has apparently angered so many members that, according to AARP, between 50,000 and 60,000 members have left the organization since July 1st.

Yowzer! Was it the supposed “death panels” claim, general opposition to a government run insurance plan, or just conservative leaning members that have had enough of the group? Either way, the mass exodus of members has caught the attention of the New York Times and AARP itself. Read:

Jim Dau, a spokesman for AARP, said in an interview that while AARP took such rebellions seriously, it had endured them before. In 2003, it lost 70,000 to 80,000 members over its support for a Medicare prescription drug program. In 2005, the organization lost 8,000 to 10,000 members for opposing efforts to privatize Social Security.

What may be different this time is that it appears members are flocking to a relatively new organization called American Seniors Association (ASA). According to their “About Us” page, their mission is to “provide seniors with the choices, information, and services they need to live healthier, wealthier lives.” However, they bill themselves more as a conservative option that stands in opposition to AARP, though they don’t mention AARP by name. Instead they say things like:

  • At American Seniors Association, we don’t just take the government’s side like some other associations.
  • We are not some big liberal bureaucracy here to try to scare you into going along with Big Government.
  • If you’re tired of having some association you’ve never met claiming to speak for you in Washington DC, then the American Seniors Association is a perfect new home for you.

They also state in big red letters across their site’s header: NOW YOU HAVE A CHOICE!

The AARP’s total membership is massive, so losing 50-60k members will not hurt the organization, but news of an alternative to the AARP may have longer-term implications for the organization. The influx of new members to the American Seniors Association, and the media attention that comes with it, represents a significant turning point for their group.

The question now is – can the ASA capitalize on this moment and use it to build momentum, enough to become a serious driving force in elder policy?

Watch this CBS news report for similar information:

Richard March 26, 2011 at 10:56 pm

I just got a renewal for my membership at AARP, originally $29.50 for 3 years in July 2008, now at $43. Now that’s a 15 % annual increase. It would have been $32 if they kept to a 3% CPI increase annually.

Henry Rymond January 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Well conservative isn’t alway that great and if I have a choice of fixing the for profit healthcare system that gives us expensive healthcare I will side with the liberals for now, thanks but no thanks for doing nothing to fix healthcare.

John November 5, 2010 at 10:25 pm

I dumped AARP when they came out in favor of Obamacare. How ironic that today they announced a 13% increase in their very own employees health insurance premiums. Beautiful! ASA is coming on as a good, strong organization, as is the newest in this type group: Generation America. (generationamerica.org) Anything is better than AARP.

American Seniors Association February 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Here are the numbers for the providers of ASA’s benefits, the entire list can be found in the benefits section of http://www.americanseniors.org

Providers Contacts

Dental Insurance—Ameritas 1-877-473-6031
Limited Medical (Undeer 65)—HSA for America 1-877-285-2085
Life Insurance—HSA for America 1-877-285-2085
Medicare (supplemental, part D, advantage)—Senior Market Sales
1-877-888-0165
Travel Center—Carlson Travel 1-866-729-1325
ASA Credit Card—US Bank 1-800-853-5576
Prescription Discount Card—CVS Caremark 1-877-673-3688
Auto & Home Insurance—Liberty Mutual 1-800-524-9400
Travel Insurance—Travel Insurance Center 1-866-979-6753
Auto Club—Best Roadside 1-866-730-7673

For current members:
Membership cards are being sent out February 15th along with the prescription discount card!

Nick1944 December 29, 2009 at 11:02 am

To Foster Daniel:

Hang in there.
I just finished mailing in my torn AARP membership cards; one for me and one for my wife.
I just joined ASA, doing it online, and printed up my membership card.
Like you, I’m sick of the way AARP has become an arm of the current administration and, to think they’re supporting this rushed, enormous, pile of garbage which includes massive cuts to Medicare, under the guise of “health care reform,” was more than I could take.
I just turned 65 a few months ago and feel much better for having sent in our membership resignations. I hope ASA survives and grows but, if not, I’ve only lost $15 dollars. We’ll see what happens.
I think the great feeling I have for cutting up those cards has actually made my day!

Foster Daniel December 23, 2009 at 3:48 am

I am 62 and I will never join AARP.
Does AARP have a political agenda? Yes
Will they admit they have a political agenda? No
Does ASA have a political agenda? Yes
Will they admit they have a political agenda? Yes
I joined ASA because they are conservative and don’t support abortions. However, ASA seems to be making it hard to join them. They are not easy to find and everything has to be done over the Internet. I even had to get my membership card off my printer. I’m old and old fashion, I would like to get something in the mail once in awhile. I just need a Hard Copy to prove ASA is real.

Derrick November 7, 2009 at 7:53 pm

J Cann, it looks like the americanseniors.org site is momentarily down. It was up a few nights ago.

J Cann November 7, 2009 at 7:26 pm

What am I missing, or better said, what am I not seeing? How do I join???

Derrick October 3, 2009 at 10:00 am

Folks, if you want to join ASA you need to visit their site:

http://www.americanseniors.org/

David Tonn October 3, 2009 at 7:10 am

I would love more info on how to join. I would be happy to tear up my AARP card. Where do I send it and join up with you, Also I have GAP coverage with AARP. I found Mutual of Omaha on your website. Is that who you use. Please advise. Thanks, David.

Hugh Coyle October 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm

AARP has changed its OWN defining demographic no fewer than 3 times, from “retired” to 50-64 to the most recent 50+. This does NOT represent retirement-aged people.

Jack Cringan October 2, 2009 at 7:35 pm

I want out of aarp I have my auto & home insurance with them can you help me?.

Mel Skoglund September 14, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Hey asa, Does your orginization offer auto insurance? Today I got a letter from aarp and the hartford ins. co. telling me that my auto ins. policy will be renewing shortly and that they were getting reports and data from indepentent reporting services that I have another licensed driver living in my household and if they don’t hear from me with in 30 days they are going to add this person to my policy and increase my premium. First, for the last 2 years the only ones living in my household are me and Reggie Dog. (Reggie is my dog) now I got a pretty smart DOG but I still don’t think the state of Montana is going to give him a drivers license. Second, just who in the hell does aarp and the hartford think they are wanting to know who lives in my house in the first place. So it’s goodby aarp and the hartford and hello asa. All you seniors take care and watch your back. Mel Skoglund, Anaconda Montana.

William Evans August 31, 2009 at 9:01 pm

THANK GOD FOR YOU. THE AARP IS MUCH TO LIBERAL FOR ME.

Linda August 31, 2009 at 5:31 pm

what does the asa offer seniors. i quit aarp because i do not like their policies on health care and gov. any longer. what can YOU offer me.

Kaye - @SandwichINK August 27, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Hi Derrick, I enjoyed your article :) I have to confess, I am an AARP member – in large part because my optometrist gives me a $40 discount once a year if I have AARP which more than pays for the AARP membership. I suspect that it is those kinds of relationships that will keep AARP going for a long time to come.

I have to admit, as much as I would love to see a good health care plan for our country (I consider it similar to fire and police protection – we all need each of those items, why not work together?), I want to see something that works well, like Kaiser Permanente. So far, though, we are not seeing anything close and I am definitely concerned about a lot of the negative issues I’ve heard about the plans. I am glad they have not rushed it through and hope that with time, we will learn more and that more positive changes will come through.

I appreciate the info about American Seniors Assn. and will definitely take a look at their site.

Thanks again for an interesting and informative article AND CONGRATS AGAIN for winning the contest. :)

HD500 August 22, 2009 at 7:13 am

Interesting blog. I recently tore up my AARP card mainly because this organization ignores my generation: Generation Jones (born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Generation X). In everything I read and see from AARP, it lumps people my age in with the Baby Boomers, and ignores the fact that GenJonesers have different goals, attitudes, life experiences, life cycle issues, and needs than Boomers. I’m hoping ASA is not behind the curve on this like AARP, and recognizes GenJones and its interests.

AARP’s omission is that more incomprehensible given the fact that GenJones is getting so much media attention, with many top commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. In fact, the Associated Press’ annual Trend Report forecast the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009. Here’s a page with a good overview of recent media interest in GenJones: http://generationjones.com/2009latest.html

It is important to distinguish between the post-WWII demographic boom in births vs. the cultural generations born during that era. Generations are a function of the common formative experiences of its members, not the fertility rates of its parents. Many experts now believe it breaks down more or less this way:

DEMOGRAPHIC boom in babies: 1946-1964
Baby Boom GENERATION: 1942-1953
Generation Jones: 1954-1965
Generation X: 1966-1978

Here is an op-ed in USA TODAY which underlines the important new role of GenJones:
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20090127/column27_st.art.htm

Derrick August 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm

C. Prather, I’m not sure they’re large enough to offer the same benefits as AARP, but you can visit their site (linked to in the post) to check for yourself. Thanks for visiting!

C. Prather August 21, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Does the ASA provide similar “benefits” as the AARP?

George B August 21, 2009 at 6:58 am

This is interesting, a battle brewing over who best represents seniors.

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