Who to call with US medical benefits issues -- and how to escalate
First, you need to know who does what...
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
depending on your length
of service and other factors. Details:
Medical benefits administration -- for HPI and HPE employees, COBRA, and retirees -- is outsourced to Aon Hewitt. (They do this work for many companies -- covering 21 million employees and retirees.)
Aon performs these functions for HP:
- Receives employment status information transmitted from HP for all current US employees -- plus the more than 54,000 US retirees, and thousands of people on COBRA.
- Runs the HP benefits website: http://www.myhpbenefits.com -- where you select your healthcare coverage.
- Bills you for health plan premiums and manages the health savings and reimbursement accounts. (Mail with the HP logo sent from "Half Day Road" in Lincolnshire, Illinois is actually from Aon.)
- Administers the health plans provided by Aetna, Anthem BlueCross/BlueShield, Cigna, UHC, etc. -- depending on your situation and region. Aon 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 transmits files to them with coverage details.
- Administers the plans provided by the various local HMOs, such as Kaiser and Harvard Pilgrim. Aon transmits files to them with coverage details.
- Runs the HP Benefits phone centers for HPI and HPE to resolve problems. Phone numbers and member advice: http://www.hpalumni.org/contacts#Medical
Medicare: Note that the Aon Retiree Health Exchange (formerly Aon Hewitt Navigators) is a completely separate division of Aon Hewitt. It is a "Retiree Health Exchange" -- focused on selling individual plans (as opposed to group plans) to retirees who are on Medicare. If you are on the "Pre-2003 HP Retiree Plan" your plan is subsidized by HP -- but only if you purchase through the Aon Retiree Health Exchange. In that situation, neither HP Corporate nor the HP Benefits Center is going to be able to help if there is a problem -- because your are buying a standard individual policy via the Aon sales agency. HP is out of the picture -- except for providing a subsidy to Aon Exchange to help pay for the policy. Instead, if you have a problem, you 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."
Who to call
Here is the process to resolve 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 Benefits Center.
The key: All that a provider knows about your specific coverage is in files that Aon transmitted to them.
2. If the provider can't resolve the issue, call the HP Benefits Center. 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.
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..."
If the process fails...
Escalate to HP via the HPAA:
While the HPAA is an independent volunteer organization and is not endorsed or supported by HPI or HPE, we do have informal escalation paths into HPI Corporate and HPE Corporate to raise issues with the Benefits Center (outsourced to Aon Hewitt.) For HP-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
(Revised March 8, 2017)
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