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Menu of Medicare topics for HP and HPE alumni. (Whether or not receiving benefits from or subsidized by HP or HPE.)

(Updated Jul 16, 2022.)  Website operated by volunteers. Not officially endorsed or supported. Comments: info@hpalumni.org

If transitioning to Medicare soon, you have a lot of homework to do -- whether receiving company benefits or not. As one member put it: "You do need to engage in this process. Medicare does not do it for you."

If formerly a regular, direct U.S. employee of HP or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving join the HP Alumni Association. No charge, thanks to HPAA's Supporting Members. Join the HPAA Benefits Group Covers topics such as COBRA and retiree health benefits, annual enrollment, and transition to Medicare.

Overview of U.S. health coverage issues: Contacts, how to escalate, "Pre-2003" program ("2003" refers to the year in which HP cut back the program, not your year of retirement.) Future of retiree healthcare, dental plans, which company are you a retiree of?  https://www.hpalumni.org/health 

Annual Enrollment for U.S. retiree and COBRA health coverage.

Medicare via HP/HPE  Advice based on member discussions.


General healthplan heads-up:

1. Technically, you have 31 days to change if you lose coverage from an employer or other plan -- or have a status change such as marriage, divorce, or transition to Medicare. This is not unique to HPInc/HPE. A fundamental principle of health insurance is that everyone continuously pays into the overall health insurance system pool when they are healthy. (For example, if you don't sign up for each of the various Medicare elements when first eligible, you pay a late enrollment penalty for years.)  If you have such a change, contact your Benefits Center ASAP -- or contact the insurance sales agency that you bought the plan from, such as Alight Retiree Health Solutions (formerly Aon Retiree Health Exchange) Alight Retiree Health Solutions contacts

"They couldn't do the surgery because his insurance had been terminated. It took a very long three-way phone call with the Benefits Center and UHC to get his new coverage entered into the system."

2. You must examine health plan coverage every year. Features for the same plan may change from year to year. Plans may be closed or restructured. (One member bought a low-cost drug plan. The plan was discontinued and they were moved to a high-cost plan. Next year, the low-cost plan was again available -- under a new name.) Tip: HPAA member advice on comparing health plans: https://www.hpalumni.org/health-compare

Medicare heads-up:

1. You may have to take action. "Some people get Medicare automatically, and some have to sign up. You may have to sign up if you're 65 (or almost 65) and not getting Social Security."

2. Deadlines. "There are certain times of the year when you can sign up or change how you get your coverage."

3. Don't delay. "If you sign up for Medicare Part B when you're first eligible, you can avoid a penalty."

HPAA members advise that you get started three months before your Medicare start date (which is the start of your birth month, or the previous month if born on the 1st.)

If benefits involve HP or HPE:

1. Be sure to go through the critical info in your Enrollment Guide -- including changing HP or HPE plans, dropping and re-enrolling, loss of spouse/partner's coverage, and dependent coverage following your death. (HPInc: Inside rear cover. HPE: Page 18.) Tip: Lots packed into an Enrollment Guide. Even if you have a paper copy, download the current file and use Adobe Reader's search feature to find specific words or phrases. (Press Ctrl and F together on a PC -- or Command and F on a Mac.) https://www.hpalumni.org/EnrollmentGuides

2. Group plans are different from individual plans. Health plans provided through employers to retirees and current employees are "group" plans that have been customized for the specific employer. They can be much more expensive than similar individual plans purchased on the highly-competitive open market. However, some members have found that HP or HPE group plans provide better coverage for their specific situation than open-market plans -- for example, coverage of dependents, pre-existing conditions, or medications. Group plans and open-market 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. HPAA member advice on comparing health plans: https://www.hpalumni.org/health-compare


Fastest to follow these stops in order...

For everyone. Whether or not receiving benefits from or subsidized by HP or HPE:

Medicare Basics  Medicare works differently! You have lots of work to do.

Advantage vs. Original Medicare  Expensive traps in Medicare -- one could cost you for years. From HPAA members and the official site.

Comparing health plans  Advice from HPAA members on how to compare health plans.

If receiving benefits from or subsidized by HP or HPE:

Medicare via HP or HPE  If receiving benefits from -- or subsidized by -- HP or HPE. You can explore your options without creating an Alight Retiree account yet (or without disturbing your current Alight Retiree account settings.)

Troubleshooting and contacts

Next step: Medicare Basics


If formerly a regular, direct U.S. employee of HP or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join the HP Alumni Association. No charge, thanks to HPAA's Supporting Members.


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