Index  WFR/Leaving  Contacts  Benefits  Medicare  Stock  Pension  Finance  Career  About HP/HPE  Join HPAA

1. Medicare    2. Basics    3. Advantage vs. Original    4. Compare Plans    5. Via HP or HPE    6. Trouble; Contacts

Medicare via HP or HPE If receiving benefits from -- or subsidized by -- HP (now legally named HP Inc.) or from HPE.

Advice and reference info from members. (Aug 11, 2023)  Website operated by volunteers. Not officially endorsed or supported. Question? Email: info@hpalumni.org

General healthplan heads-up:

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 HP/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 agency that you bought the plan from, such as Alight Retiree Health Solutions ( 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 [the carrier] to get his new coverage entered into the system." 

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.) Member advice on comparing health plans: hpalumni.org/health-compare

Medicare heads-up:

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."

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

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

If benefits involve HP or HPE:

Depending on age, years of service, and other factors, you may qualify for the "Pre-2003 HP Retiree Medical Program" -- as opposed to the current "HP Retiree Medical Program." ("2003" refers to the year when HP implemented the program, not necessarily your year of retirement.) We have a copy of HP's official "Pre-2003" criteria here:  hpalumni.org/Pre2003

Be sure to go through the critical info in your Enrollment Guide.

Critical points include: changing HP or HPE plans, dropping and re-enrolling, loss of spouse/partner's coverage, and dependent coverage following your death. (HP: Inside rear cover. HPE: Page 18.)

Tip: Lots packed into an Enrollment Guide. Even if you have a paper copy, download the 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.) hpalumni.org/EnrollmentGuides

What happens when?

Medicare works differently!  You have lots of work to do. If you haven't already done so, start at Medicare Basics

Dependent coverage coordination. Unlike group plans, which cover dependents, a Medicare plan covers one individual. This complicates the transition from a group employee or retiree plan to Medicare, since you and your spouse/partner are probably not the same age. Study the Enrollment Guide and work with your Benefits Center to set up coverage. AARP article "Younger Spouse Losing Health Insurance, Now What?"

A couple of months before you reach 65 -- and during every Annual Enrollment -- you will start hearing from multiple companies:

Many insurance sales companies will contact you. You will receive mailings and phone solicitations from HMOs, insurance carriers (such as AARP/UHC) and insurance sales agencies who purchase lists, selected by age, from consumer data brokers. Your postal or email address was not provided by HP/HPE.

If eligible for Medicare, you will hear from the HP (or HPE) Benefits Center about group Medicare plans and also directly from the online-centric insurance sales agency that HP and HPE have selected to sell and administer company-subsidized individual, open-market Medicare plans to employees and retirees -- Alight Retiree Health Solutions (AlightRHS.)

AlightRHS sometimes sends letters before HP/HPE. If your current group plan is no longer available via HP/HPE, the AlightRHS letter will bluntly say that your group plan has been "terminated."

You may have two alternatives for your HP/HPE Medicare coverage -- depending on your retiree medical program:

1. Group Medicare plans are privately negotiated by the company and administered by the HP or HPE Benefits Center. Can be much more expensive -- but may have better features -- than similarly-named publicly-available individual plans purchased on the highly-competitive open market. Details and member advice: https://www.hpalumni.org/medicare-group

2. Individual, open-market Medicare plans are publicly-available plans sold and administered by Alight Retiree Health Solutions. They may be subsidized through the HP or HPE Benefits Center. Premiums are based on the competitive market. Details and member advice: https://www.hpalumni.org/medicare-open-market

Because of the way that the health insurance market works, group plans are often no longer a good deal:

- Group plan premiums reflect the cost of care across the HP or HPE retiree population. Individual, open-market plan premiums are based on the competitive market and across all customers of the insurer.

- Group plan features are customized for the specific employer. Can be much more expensive -- but may have better features -- than similar plans purchased on the highly-competitive open market.

- A group plan may be better for your specific situation -- dependents, pre-existing conditions, or medications. While there are government specifications for open-market Medicare Advantage and Supplemental plans, employer plans do not have to match those specifications.

- Group plans and individual, open-market plans with similar names from the same carrier may have very different coverage features.

You must carefully compare the alternatives yourself.

Member advice on comparing health plans: https://www.hpalumni.org/health-compare

Deadlines. The HP and HPE enrollment deadlines are much earlier than the Dec 7, 2022 national Medicare deadline to adjust your coverage for the next calendar year. (The national deadline does not apply if you have qualified life event during the year -- such as starting Medicare.)

If you won't be able to resolve your Medicare situation by the HP/HPE enrollment deadline -- for example, because you can't get an AlightRHS advisor appointment in time, or you have an application pending for an individual Medicare plan through AlightRHS -- HP and HPE recommend that you enroll in the best HP/HPE plan now and change later if necessary.

There is a confirmation and mop-up cycle after the stated HP/HPE deadline. However, members report that changes made too far after the original deadline may not be in place at your providers by January 1.

HPInc: "You must make corrections by December 16, 2022, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time (8 p.m. Central Time). After that date, you won’t be able to make changes for 2023 unless you experience a qualified status change and call the HP Benefits Center within 60 days."
--HP Enrollment Guides.

HPE: " If you need to correct your elections, notify the HPE Benefits Center before December 31, 2022."
--HPE Enrollment Guide

You can change back to an HP/HPE group plan from AlightRHS individual coverage, as indicated in your Annual Enrollment Guide.

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