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Who to call with US HP or HPE medical benefits issues -- and how to escalate

First, you need to know who does what...
...then you will know who to call.

Advice and reference info from members. (ARHE section updated October 23, 2017.)
Covered in HPAA US Benefits Forum. Mutual help on health coverage -- COBRA, retirement, Medicare, open-market. Decoding Annual Enrollment. Other company-administered benefits such as discounts.
Questions or comments to: info@hpalumni.org

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

First -- Which Company am I a retiree or former employee of? HP, or HPE, or multiple companies? Given HP's complex history of  acquisitions, divestitures, and spinoffs, the company that you are a former employee of may not be obvious. Before contacting one of the HP-related companies, check here: Which Company 

The Benefits Center is the cosmic glue for HP group plans

Medical benefits administration for HP and HPE -- employees, COBRA, and retirees -- is outsourced to Aon Hewitt. (They do this work for many companies -- covering 21 million employees and retirees.)

Mail with the HP or HPE logo sent from "Half Day Road" in Lincolnshire, Illinois is actually from Aon Hewitt.

Phone numbers and member advice: HP Inc Benefits Center  HPE Benefits Center

Aon Hewitt performs these functions for HP Inc and HPE:

- Receives employment status information transmitted from HP Inc and HPE for all current US employees -- plus the more than 54,000 US retirees, and thousands of people on COBRA.

- Runs the benefits websites where you select your healthcare coverage.

- Bills you for health plan premiums.

- Manages the health savings and reimbursement accounts.

- Administers the health plans provided by Aetna, Anthem BlueCross/BlueShield, Cigna, UHC, etc. -- depending on your situation and region. Aon Hewitt transmits files to them with coverage details. Each of these companies has their own website and call center -- and each is a giant outfit. (UnitedHealthCare covers 38 million people; Aetna 37 million; the 38 BlueCross/BlueShield Association companies, including Anthem, 100 million; Cigna 80 million worldwide.)

- Administers the prescription plans from the pharmacy benefits management companies -- OptumRx or Medco (now Express Scripts.) Aon Hewitt transmits files to them with coverage details.

- Administers the group plans provided by the various local HMOs, such as Kaiser and Harvard Pilgrim. Aon Hewitt transmits files to them with coverage details.

- Runs the Benefits phone centers for HP Inc and HPE to resolve problems.


UnitedHealthcare group PPO Medicare plan. "A national plan offering full flexibility to its members. This plan is not a network-based plan. HP retirees can see any provider who accepts Medicare and the UHC PPO plan. If a provider indicates they accept Medicare but do not accept the UnitedHealthcare Group Medicare Advantage (PPO) plan, the participant should call UHC at 1-877-456-7240, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., local time, Monday through Friday. TTY users, call 711. This will allow UHC to follow-up with the provider to explain the plan in more detail."
--per HP Inc US Benefits.

Here is the process to resolve group health coverage issues:

1. Call the specific provider's phone center. (UHC, Aetna, BlueCross/BlueShield, Anthem, OptumRx, Medco, Kaiser, Harvard Pilgrim, etc.) If the first-level phone agent can't help you, ask to escalate your problem. Use the magic word "escalate."

If the provider has incorrect information about your eligibility or coverage -- or otherwise can't resolve your issue -- call the HP or HPE Benefits Center.

The key: All that a provider knows about your specific coverage is in files that Aon Hewitt transmitted to them.

2. If the provider can't resolve the issue, call the HP or HPE Benefits Center. Phone numbers and member advice: HP Inc Benefits Center  HPE Benefits Center
Ask for a "Retirement Specialist"
-- otherwise, you may get an agent who is primarily trained on current-employee issues.

3. If the first-level Benefits Center phone agent can't resolve your issue, ask them to escalate your call. Use the magic word "escalate." We get very good reports from members who have escalated within the Benefits Center.

Typical member comments:
"Your suggestion to call the Benefits Center was an excellent one and the retiree specialist was very helpful."
"I did initiate the 'recovery' process that way, and that led to a three-way conversation with UHC..."

Benefits Center Advocacy Representatives. The HP Inc and HPE Benefits Centers have a special group that deals with medical carrier issues: "...if you have an issue with a claim or access to care, an advocacy representative, accessible through the HP Benefits Center, can help resolve it for you."
--from the Annual Enrollment Guide

Aon Retiree Health Exchange is the cosmic glue for HP-subsidized individual plans

ARHE is an insurance sales agency that has been selected by HP to market HP-subsidized individual, standard open-market Medicare plans to HP retirees. ARHE is a separate company from Aon Hewitt, which operates the Benefits Centers for HP Inc and HPE and administers HP's group plans. Members report that employees of each company, understandably, have little or no knowledge of the other company's role or processes.

If you elect to purchase an HP-subsidized individual insurance plan through ARHE, your benefits choice is indicated at the Benefits Center as "Aon Retiree Health Exchange $0.00." You pay directly for your coverage. At the start of the year, HP funds a Retiree Reimbursement Account administered by Aon Hewitt. ARHE automatically submits claims to Aon Hewitt, which reimburses you via monthly direct deposit until the Reimbursement Account is exhausted for the year.


- An individual plan is subsidized only if you purchase through ARHE. (With an HP group plan, the HP subsidy is not broken out separately -- it is factored into the price you pay.)

- AARP/UHC Medicare plans are not on the list of available plans from ARHE -- you have to explicitly ask the ARHE agent for the AARP/UHC plans.

- Kaiser individual Medicare plans are not available through ARHE -- group Kaiser Medicare plans are available through the Benefits Center.

- Changing to group plan: "You’ll still have the option to enroll in HP coverage during future retiree benefits enrollment periods if you disenroll from Aon Retiree Health Exchange coverage or have a qualified status change." --Page 2 of the HP Inc Enrollment Guide

- Because your are buying a standard individual policy via the Aon sales agency. HP or HPE is out of the picture -- except for providing  the subsidy.

- If you have a problem, contact your Aon Retiree Health Exchange Advisor. If the Advisor can't resolve your problem, they escalate it to Aon's special group of Advocates. Contact the Benefits Center if there are problems with the subsidy payments.

If the process fails...

Escalate to HP or HPE via the HPAA:

While the HPAA is an independent volunteer organization and is not endorsed or supported by the company, we do have informal escalation paths into HP Inc Corporate and HPE Corporate to raise issues with the Benefits Center (outsourced to Aon Hewitt.) For HP or HPE -subsidized individual Medicare plans purchased through the Aon Retiree Health Exchange, we have an informal escalation path to that Aon subsidiary. http://www.hpalumni.org/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.


For more mutual help on this topic and many others, join the independent 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, join the HPAA. No charge, thanks to HPAA members.

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