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Comparing health plans. (Medicare or otherwise.)
Advice and reference info from members. (Updated Nov 30, 2020.) Questions or comments to: email@example.com
Join the HPAA's Benefits Forum which covers Updates and Q-and-A forum on COBRA and retiree health benefits, annual enrollment, transition to Medicare.
Heads up! When considering health plans, compare the details.
Health plans provided through employers to current employees and retirees are "group" plans that have been customized for the specific employer. With Medicare plans, even though there are government specifications for Advantage and Supplemental plans, employer plans do not have to match those specifications. Group plans and individual plans with similar names from the same carrier may have very different coverage features. For example, some members found that HPInc or HPE group plans are better for their specific situation than individual plans.
Health plans provided through employers to current employees and retirees are "group" plans that have been customized for the specific employer. Some members found that HPInc or HPE group plans provide better coverage for their specific situation than individual plans -- for example, coverage of dependents, pre-existing conditions, or medications. Group plans and individual plans with similar names from the same carrier may have very different coverage features. With Medicare plans, even though there are government specifications for open-market Advantage and Supplemental plans, employer plans do not have to match those specifications.
From our discussions on the HPAA Benefits Forum, of the many factors involved in picking a retiree health plan, there are several key issues:
- Whether the plan has an annual out-of-pocket maximum or a lifetime cap. You could get wiped out financially by a major health issue.
- If you have pre-existing conditions.
- What medications you currently take. Can make a huge difference in your cost via co-pays.
- Other co-pays. For example, the co-pay for hospital stays can vary from zero to hundreds per day.
- Whether your current doctors -- and the hospitals and specialists they use (such as anesthesiologists) -- accept each plan.
- How coverage works if you are traveling, if you spend time at a child's home, or if you have two homes.
- Dependent coverage.
"For Part D plans, do your research on Medicare --
https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare/ -- and on the web sites of
the plans that interest you. Always generate a drug cost for the
pharmacy that you prefer to use. Take Aon's drug costs with a grain of
salt. If they happen to agree with Medicare and the plan, then trust
them. Otherwise, ignore them."
"Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. HP’s Humana Gold Advantage program in Colorado is great and no additional charge."
"I'm insuring my college age son. He's on UHC PPO 650 which is a much better insurance than what is available with 'Affordable' Health Care insurance. Once he graduates and is on his own, I'll go to either AARP/UHC, Aon/UHC or the open market. The HP group insurance isn't competitive for those on Medicare but again, in my case I have to insure a dependent who is not of Medicare age."
"Just make sure you are comparing apples to apples."
Comparing individual plans on the official Medicare
If you were formerly a regular, direct employee of HP or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join the HP Alumni Association. Membership is also open to heirs with HP-related stock and to those receiving company benefits -- spouses, partners, dependents, DEC and EDS retirees. No charge, thanks to HPAA members.
As financial, legal, and personal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and finances and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided here should be used as a substitute for the personalized advice of competent financial, legal, and personal advisors.
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