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US Health Insurance – Troubleshoot and Compare Notes

Advice and reference info from members.  (Updated November 3, 2017.)  Contact the HPAA volunteers: info@hpalumni.org 

For updates, join the HPAA's US Benefits Forum. Mutual help on health coverage -- COBRA, retirement, Medicare, open-market. Annual Enrollment.

If you are in the process of leaving HPI or HPE, there are health coverage items in the ASAP Checklist -- what to do before losing access to internal systems. Other advice from members who left: What I wish I had known before I left - Benefits Issues

Trap: Continuity of coverage. You have 31 days to change your health plan if you lose coverage from another employer or have a status change such as marriage or divorce.

From the 2018 Annual Enrollment Guide: http://www.hpalumni.org/2018HPIEnrollmentGuide.pdf

- "If you opt out of coverage through HP into another employer’s plan, you will still have the option to re-enroll in HP coverage if you lose that coverage. You must re-enroll within 31 days of the loss of coverage. This could include the loss of your own coverage or the loss of coverage under your spouse or domestic partner’s coverage." (Pages 2 and 18)

- "If you don’t make corrections by December 28, 2017... you can’t change your HP elections for 2018 unless you experience a qualified status change." (Page 2)

If you have such a change, contact the appropriate HP Benefits Center ASAP: http://www.hpalumni.org/contacts

These restrictions are not unique to HP -- or unique to health insurance. A fundamental principle of insurance is that everyone continuously pays into the pool. For example, that's why if you don't sign up for each of the various elements of Medicare when you are first eligible, you generally have to pay a late enrollment penalty for years.

Your available HP coverage depends on the answers to two questions:

1. Which Company am I a former employee or retiree of? HPI, HPE or? http://www.hpalumni.org/WhichCompany

2. Do I qualify for the "Pre-2003" program? The confusing term "Pre-2003 HP Medical Program" refers to the year in which Hewlett-Packard's US retiree medical program was redesigned -- not the year you retired. Regardless of when you retired, depending on your length of service and other factors, you may qualify for the US "Pre-2003" program. Details:  http://www.hpalumni.org/Pre2003

Annual Enrollment for 2018: For US retiree and COBRA health coverage. Documents, member advice. http://www.hpalumni.org/Annual

Age 60 and retired from National Guard or Reserves. Members suggest that you look into TRICARE Prime. "$24/month. I use it as a secondary insurance. It picks up the copays from my primary and the prescription drug part (Express Scripts) also picks up much of my drug copays. When you hit 65 you're automatically enrolled in TRICARE For Life which is free." https://www.tricare.mil

Medicare:

- HPAA's Medicare Study Guide -- a step-by-step process to figure out your Medicare situation -- and avoid a couple of traps -- whether an official HP Retiree or not:: http://www.hpalumni.org/medicare

- If "you and all of your covered family members are eligible for Medicare" you may choose to purchase a Medicare plan through the HP-subsidized the Aon Retiree Health Exchange. See page #2 of the Annual Enrollment Guide. (pdf file page 4) http://www.hpalumni.org/Annual 

Comparing plans:

From our discussions on the HPAA Benefits Forum, of the many factors involved in picking a retiree health plan, there are five key issues:

1. Whether the plan has an annual out-of-pocket maximum -- or a lifetime cap -- you could get wiped out financially by a major health issue.

2. Whether or not you have pre-existing conditions.

3. What medications you currently take -- which can make a huge difference in your cost via co-pays.

4. Other co-pays. For example, the co-pay for hospital stays can vary from zero to hundreds per day.

5. Whether your current doctors -- and the hospitals and specialists they use (such as anesthesiologists) -- accept each plan.

 

Who to call with medical benefits issues. Who does what? - the HPAA's summary of the roles played by the Benefits Center and each of the many providers -- and how to escalate to HPI or HPE via the independent HP Alumni Association.

Non-Retirees: The most recent Annual Enrollment Guide --  http://www.hpalumni.org/Annual -- has some useful information for non-retirees -- for example those on COBRA.

Contacts -- official and unofficial contact directories for HP and HP's providers. http://www.hpalumni.org/contacts

Flexible Spending Account "Your Spending Account"

▪ Dependent Care Claim Form. http://www.hpalumni.org/YSA-DependentClaimForm.pdf   0.5MB pdf file. Includes instructions, fax number, and "Little Einstein Academy" example claim. (Form created by "Hewitt Admin" on 8/8/2012 9:13:34 AM. Sent to HPAA by HP U.S. Benefits on 3/20/13.)

▪ Health Care Claim Form. http://www.hpalumni.org/YSA-HealthCareClaimForm.pdf   0.3MB pdf file. Includes instructions, fax number, and "Associates of Dermatology" example claim. (Form created by "Hewitt Admin" on 8/8/2012 9:13:19 AM. Sent to HPAA by HP U.S. Benefits on 3/20/13.)


For more mutual help on these topics and many others, join the HP Alumni Association. You are eligible to join 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 charge to join the HP Alumni Association.

 

The Hewlett-Packard Alumni Association is an independent volunteer organization of former HP, HP Inc, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise employees – and current employees in the process of leaving. Operated by former employees who volunteer their time; not officially endorsed or supported. 

 

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