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

1. Medicare Group Plans -- administered by HP/HPE If receiving benefits from or subsidized by HP (now legally named HP Inc.) or from HPE.

Advice and reference info from members. (Updated Mar 11, 2023.)  Website operated by volunteers. Not officially endorsed or supported. Comments: info@hpalumni.org

If eligible for Medicare, you will hear from the HP (or HPE) Benefits Center about group Medicare plans and also directly from the insurance sales agency that HP and HPE have selected to sell and administer company-subsidized 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 -- discussed on this page -- 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 similar publicly-available plans purchased on the highly-competitive open market.

2. 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. They reflect the underlying cost of care across all the customers of a particular carrier's plan. Details and member advice: https://www.hpalumni.org/medicare-open-market

Group Medicare plans are negotiated by the company and administered by the company's Benefits Center and administered by the HP and HPE Benefits Centers  in the same manner they administer the pre-Medicare plans -- all of which are "group" plans. The Benefits Centers are operated for HP by Alight Benefits Administration -- and operated for HPE by Bswift.

- You pay HP or HPE via their Benefits Center. (Alight Benefits Administration is a separate company from Alight Retiree Health Solutions, a Medicare insurance sales agency that both HPInc and HPE use.)

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

- Group plan premiums reflect the cost of care across the HP or HPE retiree population. Open-market plan premiums are based on the competitive market and across all the customers of the insurer. (Why HP group plan costs are going up. hpalumni.org/health-cost )

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

- HP and HPE Benefits Center phone agents do not have information on open-market plans -- and, not being licensed to represent insurance companies in your state, would not be legally allowed to discuss them.

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

- To purchase a group plan, you work with the people at the HP or HPE Benefits Center.

- Under a group plan, if you have a problem with a carrier or HMO, you work through the Benefits Center. HP or HPE is a customer of your insurance carrier or HMO -- and can escalate issues.

You must carefully compare the alternatives yourself.

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.

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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