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
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:
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
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
We have a copy of HP's official "Pre-2003" criteria here:
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.)
Medicare works differently! You have lots of work to do. If you haven't already done so,
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
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
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:
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
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:
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
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
individual coverage, as indicated in your
Annual Enrollment Guide.