What is AARP?

What is AARP?

The American Association of Retired Persons is now known exclusively by its acronym AARP. Indeed, membership is not limited to retirees and, as is often the case, many people over 50 continue to work. AARP defines itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan group for people over 50, but has been plagued by accusations that it lobbies for legislation, like the Medicare Prescription Act. of 2003, which may not always be in the best interests of all of its members. AARP has more than 30 million members, making it one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the United States.
AARP’s founding was inspired by the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA), which was established in 1947 by Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. With the NRTA, Andrus sought to address some of the issues of retiring teachers, particularly concerns over health insurance and the tendency for retirees to feel displaced after leaving their jobs. Andrus had many theories about productive aging and was particularly concerned about the small pensions awarded to teachers. The NRTA and its large group of members allowed Andrus to approach major health insurance companies and finally find companies that would be willing to cover retired teachers at a minimal cost.

During the 1950s, Andrus began to realize that retirement and health insurance issues were not exclusive to teachers. Having small pensions has challenged many workers in many areas, making life very difficult. Thus AARP was created to welcome retirees of all professions, provided they were 50 or older, and by the end of the 20th century, AARP welcomed any American over 50, retired or not.

AARP has been the subject of significant criticism and investigation over its nonprofit status. Some critics have said that AARP has become no better than a broker for various insurance companies. Such charges were sufficient to warrant a government inquiry into the organization’s status in the 1990s. These inquiries did not reveal sufficient evidence to change the organization, and since AARP is classified as a non-profit organization 501c4 nonprofit, lobbying is permitted under federal law.
In addition to offering or endorsing certain retiree insurance plans, AARP has proven to be particularly beneficial to its members by negotiating discounts for seniors or its members. Reduced fares for travel, air flights, hotel stays, and discounts at retail stores, restaurants, and theaters can help a low-income retiree fully participate in leisure activities. AARP also publishes a bimonthly magazine, called AARP: The Magazine, which tends to address issues common to the over-50s and offers social or political suggestions to its members.

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