Benefits - Wish I Had Known #3
We asked HPAA members "What do you wish you had known before you left HP?"
The responses are organized into five articles:
- Heads Up - Surprises and Hazards
- Job and Career Issues
- Benefits Issues [this article]
- Financial Issues
- Looking at the Big Picture
Also see our ASAP Checklist
– what to do
before losing access to internal systems. (HPAA membership not required)
Questions or comments to:
Benefits - Wish I Had Known #3 (9-28-2014)
The majority of members report that
the HP Benefits Center -- outsourced
to Aon Hewitt -- does a very good
job. Unless you really do something
dumb, the Benefits Center makes sure
that you have some sort of coverage
during the various transitions.
However, you do need to call them as
many times as necessary to make sure
things are set up the way you want
them -- and that you understand the
Here's our map of the companies
involved in HP Benefits --
especially the various roles that
the Benefits Center plays:
The confusing paperwork led one
member to incorrectly conclude that
she would have no medical coverage
for the weekend following her last
day -- so spent the entire weekend
in bed. She said it was a good idea
anyhow after the stress of the last
I thought the transition from HP
medical to Cobra was not very
clear. If I had left at the end of
August, it would have been very
helpful to understand what is really
happening to medical insurance in
the "2 year" HP provided medical
insurance. Several phone calls to HP
Benefits Center were required to
understand it including discussions
with the Cobra folks. HP could have
made this much clearer.
Dental was an issue as dental
insurance is not easy to find, so
I'd suggest they get as much dental
work done as possible before their
Assuming you are 65 years old, or
older, upon leaving HP you have 8
months in which to apply for
Medicare Part B. Failure to apply
for Part B within 8 months will
result is significant penalties when
you eventually apply for Medicare
Part B. There are exceptions to
this requirement, for example, if
you are covered by your spouses'
employer's medical plan, then you do
not need to apply for Medicare Part
B while covered.
In the case of the 2012 EER plan, HP
offered 24 months of "active
employee health care coverage".
This was essentially a COBRA plan
and did not negate the need to apply
for Medicare Part B, even though our
HP employee coverage was our primary
health care plan and we were not
using Medicare Part B coverage.
(Also, keep in mind that Medicare is
NEVER your secondary coverage; it's
always primary.). This situation -
thinking we didn't need to apply for
Part B for the 24 months of HP
coverage - has caused real issues
for some retirees.
Keep a copy of your separation
papers handy (employment termination
notice) so you can document - prove
- when you left HP. Social Security
will need this to enroll you in Part
B Medicare and not penalize you for
registering outside the 8 month
Everyone should sign up for Medicare
Part A when turning 65. It's free.
As for the new Phased Retirement
plan, it's not clear to me how
working 'part time' will impact your
HP medical coverage vis-a-vis the
Medicare Part B sign-up rules. I
would seriously encourage checking
with Medicare to get their
determination, in writing if
possible. Do not rely on HP
Benefits administrators for advice
on this important 'change of life'
Same idea applies to Medicare Part D
prescription drug coverage: keep a
copy of your employment termination
papers and your "Creditable
Prescription Coverage" document HP
sends out every year. You'll need
them when you apply, otherwise
severe penalties. I believe the
sign-up window for Part D is only 60
days after termination from your
current "Creditable" prescription
I wish that I had known more about
the requirements of Medicare Part B,
(which costs money to be covered),
and how it is supposed to co-exist
with retirement medical or
These issues are discussed on the
HPAA's Benefits forum -- another
reason why you need to join the HPAA
once you are sure you know you are
leaving or being laid off. You are eligible to join
the HP Alumni Association if you
were formerly a regular, direct employee of Hewlett-Packard, HP Inc, or Hewlett Packard Enterprise-- or have a defined
retirement or termination date.
Thanks to the HPAA's Supporting
Members, there is no
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For more mutual help on this topic and many others, join the independent HP Alumni Association.
If you were formerly a regular, direct employee of Hewlett-Packard, HP Inc, or Hewlett Packard Enterprise --
or have a defined retirement or termination date,
join the HPAA.
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