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


2a. Medicare Open-Market plans -- administered by AlightRHS. If receiving benefits from or subsidized by HP (now legally named HP Inc.) or from HPE.

Advice and reference info from members. (Updated Dec 6, 2022.)  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 are administered by the HP and HPE Benefits Centers. Can be much more expensive than similar individual plans purchased on the highly-competitive open market. Critical details and member advice on group plans: https://www.hpalumni.org/medicare-group

2. Open-market Medicare plans -- discussed on this page -- are administered by Alight Retiree Health Solutions (AlightRHS), subsidized by HP or HPE. Premiums are based on the competitive market. They reflect the underlying cost of care across all the customers of a particular carrier's plan.

Many corporations are moving from group plans to open-market plans. For example, IBM and 3M use a similar insurance sales agency called "Via Benefits."


Open-market Medicare plans through Alight Retiree Health Solutions, subsidized by HP or HPE.

Alight Retiree Health Solutions (AlightRHS) is an insurance sales agency that administers company-subsidized open-market Medicare plans for 150 organizations, including HP and HPE. (HP and HPE continue to administer their remaining group Medicare plans.) You pay list price directly to the carrier or HMO. If you have a subsidy from HP or HPE, it is paid directly to you by HP/HPE -- only if you purchase through AlightRHS.

AlightRHS does not represent all available Medicare plans. AARP/UHC plans are not on the AlightRHS website, but -- as indicated on the website -- they are available by request. Kaiser is not available through AlightRHS.

As with any insurance sales agency, carriers and HMOs pay AlightRHS for selling and renewing policies. AlightRHS Benefits Advisors receive sales commissions for plans they place in your cart.

Re-enrollment rules: "...if you elect to not participate in HP retiree medical coverage (or coverage through Alight Retiree Health Solutions, if you qualify for Medicare)... you will not have an option to re-enroll in retiree medical coverage (or coverage through Alight Retiree Health Solutions...) during future annual enrollment periods. Instead, you will be eligible to re-enroll only within 31 days of losing coverage under another employer’s group medical plan or within 60 days of losing coverage purchased from a public health insurance exchange. Losing coverage under another employer's group medical plan could include the loss of your own coverage through another employer or the loss of coverage under your spouse's/partner’s employer's plan." --HP Enrollment Guides

(Alight Retiree Health Solutions -- formerly Aon Retiree Health Exchange -- is a separate company from Alight Benefits Administration, which runs the HP Benefits Center.)

If you qualify, an individual Medicare plan may be subsidized by the company via an RRA or RMSA -- but only if you purchase it through AlightRHS. This is implied -- but not explicitly stated -- in the Enrollment Guide.

Plans and pricing:

- Premiums are based on the competitive market. They reflect the underlying cost of care across all the customers of a particular carrier's plan.

- Whether a given brokerage, such as AlightRHS, carries a particular plan is between the brokerage and the insurance carrier. Some carriers, such as Kaiser, do not use sales agencies. (BTW, as far as we can tell, HP/HPE do not directly pay anything to AlightRHS.)

- There are government specifications for open-market Advantage and Supplemental plans. A carrier may add additional features, but can't change the required basic coverage. (A common add-on is a limited membership at a gym looking to sell upgraded memberships. Even before the pandemic, the directory often included gyms that had gone out of business.)

How the payments work:

The payment process for open-market plans ensures that your subsidy is not reported to the IRS as taxable compensation.

- You pay list price directly to the carrier or HMO.

- If on the Pre-2003 program, you are reimbursed via a special HP "Retiree Reimbursement Account." (The RRA has no connection with any other account that you might have, such as a Health Savings Account, or the Medicare A and B premiums you pay via Social Security deductions or direct payments.)

- If on the current Retiree Medical Program, you are potentially reimbursed via your HP Retiree Medical Savings Account (RMSA.)

- As with any insurance sales agency, carriers and HMOs pay AlightRHS for selling and renewing policies -- a sales commission for the initial sale and a monthly admin fee.

- AlightRHS Benefits Advisors, who hold an insurance sales license in your state, receive commissions for plans they place in your cart.

Benefits account settings:

- On your HP/HPE Benefits account, select "Alight Retiree Health Solution $0.00" as your plan -- instead of the default company group plan and price. This will cause the Benefits Center to notify Alight. (It says "$0.00" because you pay the carrier directly.)

- The plan or plans you bought are specified on your AlightRHS account -- but are irrelevant to the company, and therefore not indicated on your HP/HPE Benefits account.

Go thorough your cover letter:

- HP's personalized Pre-2003 Program enrollment cover letter for 2023 says: "As a qualified retiree, you are eligible for HP funding to a Retiree Reimbursement Account (RRA) instead of HP subsidizing your retiree medical premiums directly. If you enroll in coverage through the [sic] Alight Retiree Health Solutions, HP will fund an RRA... RRA allocations from HP are not available if you purchase an individual insurance option from sources other than Alight." --from a Typical Enrollment Letter  There is similar wording in the Retiree Medical Program cover letter

The HPAA has an informal escalation path into AlightRHS management. https://www.hpalumni.org/escalate-AlightRHS


Member tips on working with Alight Retiree Health Solutions https://www.hpalumni.org/medicare-ARHS-tips

How to explore the AlightRHS alternative - online before you call. https://www.hpalumni.org/medicare-ARHS-online


Deadlines

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 you have a problem, contact the insurance agency you purchased from. In the case of AlightRHS, contact your Advisor. If the Advisor can't resolve your problem, they escalate it to AlightRHS' special group of Advocates. (Because your are buying an open-market policy via the agency , the company -- HP or HPE -- is out of the picture -- except for providing  the subsidy.) Contact the Benefits Center if there are problems with the subsidy payments. Troubleshooting and contacts


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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