Medicare Checklist for HP Alumni
-- whether an official HP Retiree or
Links, advice, and reference information from members of the HP
Alumni Association. (Rev. Aug 22, 2016.)
(Note on pdf files: If you click on a pdf file and
it doesn't come up automatically in your browser, go to
http://get.adobe.com/reader to get a free, genuine copy
of Adobe Reader for Windows, Mac, or Android. Be sure to uncheck the pre-checked boxes
that give Adobe permission to install unrelated software or change your
Step 1. Federal Medicare site:
- Bookmark and explore the
Official Medicare site:
- Download the excellent "Medicare
and You" booklet --
https://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050-Medicare-and-You.pdf -- from the official Medicare site. Two key
pages: A flowchart on page 17 explains Original Medicare +
Supplemental vs Medicare Advantage plans. A table on page 82
explains the Supplemental plans -- A through N. Even if you have a paper copy, it is
very helpful to use Adobe Reader's search feature to find
specific words or phrases in a pdf file. (Depending on the document and
your setup, either hit the F3 key to search for words or phrases
-- or hover over the lower edge of any page. In the hover case,
you will see a popup. Click on the "swirl" icon at the right of
the popup to get the Adobe Reader toolbar.)
- Also download "Choosing a Medigap
Especially note the section on Guaranteed Issue -- pages 21-24.
Step 2. Find the appropriate
Medicare sites for your state:
- State Health Insurance
Assistance Programs. State-specific SHIP websites with
information about local, personalized counseling and
assistance to people with Medicare and their families. SHIPs
can help you with things like: Your Medicare questions,
including your benefits, coverage, premiums, deductibles, and
coinsurance. Complaints and appeals. Joining or leaving a
Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), any other Medicare
health plan, or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Highly
recommended by HPAA members.
- Medicare Savings Programs.
If you have limited income and resources, you can get help
from your state paying some or all of your Medicare
premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.
- State Insurance Departments.
Information about Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans
sold in the state.
Links to the three directories:
HPAA Medicare Webinar
There are several expensive traps in
Medicare -- one of which could cost you for years. They are
well explained in the video from HPAA's October, 2014 Medicare webinar.
- Lifetime costs for missing
- Premium depends on the last tax return available to Medicare,
which may be a lot higher than your actual income.
- In-network vs. out-of-network.
- Physically in a hospital but not technically "admitted" -- a
potentially very expensive trap.
- The deductible, coinsurance, and drug coverage differences
between the various alternatives.
Watch the slides-and-audio video of the WebEx
conference, including Q-and-A:
HPAA Medicare Webinar video [YouTube, 75 minutes. YouTube
detects your connection speed and adjusts the video quality
How to use the video: You may want to download the slides first --
and then select the key slides to print for note-taking while watching the
Part 1 -- For everyone: Medicare Explained --
with Heads Up Warnings [First half-hour of
Printable slides [pdf, 42 pages, 0.6MB]
Connie Corrales -- from Sourcewise, a non-profit in Santa Clara
- Federally funded nationwide Medicare counseling and advocacy
in every state.
- Introduction to Medicare.
- Medicare choices and options.
- Heads up! Several expensive traps.
Part 2 -- For those on the
Pre-2003 Retiree Program: Medicare for HP
Retirees [28:22 to 51:55 on video]
Printable slides [pdf, 24 pages, 0.7MB]
David Rew -- from the Aon Retiree Health Exchange
- If on Pre-2003 Retiree Medical Program and don't
want an HP group plan, the HP
reimbursement can only be used to purchase a plan through Aon.
- Aon is compensated by insurance companies; agents not on
- How to prepare; Guaranteed Issue of Coverage varies by state; enrollment and
payment options; timeline; going back to the HP group plan.
Part 3 -- Q and A [51:58 to
01:15:19 on video]
firstname.lastname@example.org (WebEx facilities courtesy of First Tech Federal Credit Union.)
Step 4. If on
the "Pre-2003" Retiree Program.
(How to determine which retiree health program are you on:
Key info on Medicare for HP retirees
is located in several sections of the Annual Enrollment Guide:
Download the Enrollment Guide from HPAA's
Page In past years, members reported that had to
explicitly ask the Aon Retiree Health Exchange agent for the
AARP/UHC plans -- and that you have to go through HP for Kaiser
HP group plan. HP Benefits
Center (manages any retiree health plans
that HP's predecessor companies may have had -- including
1-800-890-3100 (choose "HP Benefits Center") or
toll 1-847-883-0465 outside US, Puerto Rico, or Canada. 6am to 6pm Pacific
Time. Ask for a "Retirement
Specialist" -- otherwise, you may get an agent who is primarily trained on current-employee issues. (operated by Aon/Hewitt.)
Individual plans. Aon Retiree
Health Exchange (formerly Aon Hewitt Navigators)
If on Pre-2003 Retiree Medical Program and don't want an HP
group plan, the HP reimbursement can only be used to purchase a
plan through Aon.
On that site, you can register and confirm your enrollment
appointment -- and prepare for your enrollment phone call:
- Enter your prescriptions -- which has a huge effect on which
plans make sense for you.
- Compare plans and put the best alternatives a shopping cart
- Go to the HP HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) contribution
Toll-free 1-800-975-0355, 8am to 8pm Central Time, Monday
Who to call with health 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
Health insurance agents. Many ex-HPers do not qualify for an HP health insurance plan --
or, even if they do, have low years-of-service such that they
should consider non-HP alternatives. An experienced independent
insurance agent licensed to sell health insurance in your state
can help you sort through the complexity -- and adds nothing to
the cost of the plan you purchase from them. We have a
directory of ex-HPers who
have indicated that they are licensed to sell health insurance
-- and that they regularly work with ex-HP clients and therefore
understand the transition process for those who no longer have
HP health benefits.
Medicare Prescription Coverage Letters sent by UHC
"...your plan sponsor has decided to end your prescription
"...you may have to pay a Late Enrollment Penalty..."
For more mutual help on these topics
and many others, join the HP Alumni Association.
You are eligible to join the HP Alumni Association if you were formerly a regular, direct
employee of Hewlett-Packard, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, or HP
or have a defined retirement or termination date. Thanks to the HPAA's Supporting Members, there is no
join the HPAA.
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.