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Medicare Checklist for HP, HP Inc, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Alumni
-- whether an official Retiree or not

Links, advice, and reference info from members of the HP Alumni Association. (Updated August 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 default browser.)

Step 1. Federal Medicare site:

- Bookmark and explore the Official Medicare site:  http://www.medicare.gov

- 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 Policy" -- https://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/02110-Medicare-Medigap.guide.pdf  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: https://www.medicare.gov/Contacts

Step 3. 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 deadlines.
- 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 accordingly.]
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 video. 

Part 1 -- For everyone: Medicare Explained -- with Heads Up Warnings  [First half-hour of the HPAA video ]   Printable slides [pdf, 42 pages, 0.6MB]
Connie Corrales -- from Sourcewise, a non-profit in Santa Clara County.
- 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 commission.
- 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]

Comments to: editor@hpalumni.org  (WebEx facilities courtesy of First Tech Federal Credit Union.)

Step 4. If on the "Pre-2003" Retiree Program.  (HP's phrase "Pre-2003 HP Medical Program" refers to the year when HP's retiree medical program was redesigned. If you retired in 2003 or later, you may qualify for the Pre-2003 program -- depending on your length of service and other factors. Details: http://www.hpalumni.org/Pre2003 )

Key info on Medicare for HP retirees is located in several sections of the Annual Enrollment Guide: Download the Enrollment Guide from HPAA's Annual Enrollment 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 Medicare plans.


HP group plans. HP Benefits Center (manages any retiree health plans that HP's predecessor companies may have had -- including DEC.)
Phone numbers and member advice: 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 website.
Toll-free 1-800-975-0355, 8am to 8pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.

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. 

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 drug coverage"  www.hpalumni.org/UHC-EndDrugCoverage

▪ "...you may have to pay a Late Enrollment Penalty..."   www.hpalumni.org/UHC-LateEnrollmentPenalty

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 charge to 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.


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