Future of US Retiree health coverage - commitment and prices
Advice and reference info from members. (December 6, 2017.) Contact the HPAA volunteers: firstname.lastname@example.org
For updates, join the HPAA's US Benefits Forum. Mutual help on health coverage -- COBRA, retirement, Medicare, open-market. Annual Enrollment.
The Hewlett-Packard Company never made any commitment to provide retiree healthcare in the entire history of the company. After the traumatic experience of laying off most of the employees at the end of the war, Bill and Dave -- and subsequent CEOs -- were very careful about making promises that they might not be able to keep.
Of HP's predecessor companies, only DEC had retiree healthcare. Compaq, EDS, Tandem, etc. did not have retiree healthcare programs.
Every Annual Enrollment Guide says:
"In November 2015, HP expects to separate into new public companies, HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. You and all other current U.S. retirees will be aligned to HP Inc. and participate in HP Inc. benefits programs, regardless of which part of HP you worked in as an active employee. As such, your current HP health and insurance and retirement benefits will not be changing as a result of the separation. (Of course, as is the case every year, there may be changes to your benefits for 2016 or future years unrelated to the separation.) ...
"In the U.S., the existing HP corporate entity will continue as HP Inc., and retirees [as of the split] will be aligned to the existing entity. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is being formed as a totally new corporate entity. ...
"As in the past, there may be changes to your retiree health coverage for 2016 due to continually increasing health care costs. Such cost pressures aren’t new, and they aren’t related to or influenced by the separation." ...
--from the brochure mailed to US retirees in September 2015
For current information, see Which Company am I a former employee or retiree of? HPI, HPE or?
DEC retirees report that Compaq -- and now HP -- have lived up to DEC's commitments.
(The Benefits Centers are unable to predict future plan prices if you are not currently enrolled. There are too many unpredictable variables, including: changes in your situation, rising cost of health coverage, and the overall limit on company contribution that was set in 2010 -- which is now becoming a significant factor.)
Prices paid by retirees will continue to rise due to the cap put in place in 2010, announced at the time by interim CEO Robert Wayman.
The personalized letter that comes every year with the Annual Enrollment Guide says:
"Future retiree medical cost-sharing reminder
"As communicated in previous years, HP currently pays the majority of retiree health benefit costs for most retirees and incurs a significant annual expense for the program. To help manage our program expenses, HP placed limits on the amounts we contribute toward monthly coverage costs now and in the future. The limits are equal to the level of HP's average coverage contributions in 2010. This means that any cost increases from 2011 on are paid and will continue to be paid by participating retirees.
"By reducing the accounting expense associated with the retiree health program, these limits help balance HP's need to control costs with our ongoing goals of maintaining the value of the program and supporting retiree needs. HP is also continuing to take strong action to help control increases by leveraging our purchasing power, monitoring health plans for quality and efficiency, and implementing benefit features that promote preventive care and efficient use of services."
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.
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