Medicare Checklist for HP, HP Inc,
and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Alumni
-- whether an official Retiree or
Advice and reference info from
August 29, 2017.)
This topic is covered in the HPAA's
US Benefits Forum.
Mutual help on health coverage -- COBRA, retirement, Medicare,
open-market. Annual Enrollment, discounts.
Contact the HPAA volunteers:
(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. Basics on official Medicare site:
- Bookmark and explore the
Official Medicare site:
http://www.medicare.gov (Note that
site that comes up in Google searches is operated by an
insurance sales agency.)
- 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.)
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.
(Covered throughout the "Medicare and You" booklet.)
Step 2. Limitations and traps on
official Medicare site:
There are limitations and traps
related to pre-existing conditions, and when changing
between employer-provided, retiree, Advantage, and Supplemental
(Medigap) coverage. Here are other key pages on the official
Medicare website covering limitations and traps:
- Employer coverage (if still
employed.) "Even if you have coverage through a current or
former employer, you still may need to make some important
Medicare enrollment decisions. It’s important to understand how
your current coverage works with Medicare before making any
decisions." Three choices: "I have employer coverage and: I'm
turning 65 or I'm over 65 or I'm under 65 and have a
- Retiree insurance. "If
you're retired and have Medicare and group health plan (retiree)
coverage from a former employer... "5 things to know about
- Supplemental (Medigap) plans:
"Choosing a Medigap Policy"
Especially note the section on Guaranteed Issue -- pages 21-24.
"8 things to know about Medigap policies"
"Guaranteed issue rights. Rights you have in certain situations
when insurance companies are required by law to sell or offer
you a Medigap policy even if you have health problems (called
- Advantage plans:
"13 things to know about Medicare Advantage Plans"
- Changing plans:
"Medigap [Supplemental] & Medicare Advantage Plans"
If you have found an especially
helpful page on the official Medicare site, please pass the
word via an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 3. 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]
email@example.com (WebEx facilities courtesy of First Tech Federal Credit Union.)
Step 5. If on
the "Pre-2003" Retiree Program.
(HP's confusing phrase "Pre-2003 HP Medical Program" refers to the year
in which HP'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"
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 plans. HP Benefits
Center (manages any retiree health plans
that HP's predecessor companies may have had -- including
Phone numbers and
http://www.hpalumni.org/contacts#Medical 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 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
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.
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, HP Inc, or Hewlett Packard Enterprise–
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.