Extend Health for IBM Medicare-Eligible Retirees

Information about new healthcare options for Medicare-eligible IBM retirees from Chief Medical Director Kyu Rhee:



  1. robert malan says:

    what a mess

    • Jim Shafer says:

      What a MESS. I also have called them 2X with no results, They have NO info on regional
      insurance carriers in Ckentral Florida. I am not sure they know where Florida is located.
      They say go their website. Sure, was that listed in our letters? They don’t seem to know
      anything about local insurance, except something they will receive a large commission on
      when we get stuck with it. I never believed IBM would treat their retired employes this way.
      Also, I have called IBM benefits and no results and was to receive a call back from
      Management, No call yet. Maybe next year. Anyway I guess we can all thank OBAMA
      for this wonderful improvement in our Health Care situation. Hope You have better luck than
      I am having.

      • call ur normal insurance agent fpr help !!

      • Carol Belmer says:

        I am sorry to hear of your negative experience. When I called to schedule my appointment, they weren’t that busy at the time; so he took down all the information (doctors, prescriptions), on the phone and entered it on the phone.

        So, I did no ave to enter anything into the system myself. Since then, I have been able to check everything on the medicare site as well.

        Although I had a lot of questions, it was because of my lack of experience/knowledge,etc. , hot for any fault of theirs. Although I had to call more than once with questions (I have very high both medical and prescription bills), I had no problems at all.

        Try this number = it is direct into their Provost, Utah location. 1 – 800 – 711 – 3576. I happened to have that particular number, because I had to work with a manager out there (not their problem, mine; lol).

        I am in South Florida. Because of my medical situation (meeting out of pocket every year for five years), and horrendous pharmaceutical costs I have gone with the Humana High Deductible F ($144.59 per month and $2,110 out of pocket), and on the drugs, 1st Health. They have two plans: 1) Drug Store – 30 days only, or 2) mail order – 90 days.

        If I can be of any further help, let me know.


      • Roland Kopp says:

        I agree completely. IBM must answer to this disgrace to ethics and disregard for “respect for the individual”. I’m going to press for this to be covered a the next stockholders meeting.

        • to Roland Kopp
          I agree completely. IBM must answer to this disgrace to ethics and disregard for “respect for the individual”. I’m going to press for this to be covered a the next stockholders meeting.

          Please do… possibly nothing will happen but it is worth a shot.
          From reading the post that are made on this site after 20 years retired I re-realize there are many people that are not aware enough or capableof taking care of these types of problems. So please bring it up at stock holde meetings.
          I can no longer do this. Being disgusted with the “new ” IBM I have sold all the shares of IBM that I had at market recently. I would prefer that IBM offer me a one time money buy out of my health benefits.
          Vernon (Old time IBMer>)

          • Alison Terry says:

            I agree that this issue should be brought up at the stockholders meeting. My experience with extended health was dismal to say the lease. After waiting 28 on hold past my scheduled appointment to talk to an advisor (=which took over a month to get) I got a person who spent her time reading from a script and was extrememly rude and would not even let me get a work in. I only wanted to sign up for dental insurance and I have less expensive insurance elsewhere but was only offered 1 plan which had a limit of $1000 for a cost of $48 a month when my current plan through IBM has a limit of $2000 for a cost of $21 a month. Seems to me that ExtendedHealth is making a very large profit on the backs of IBM retirees whom do not have alot of money to waste. Since I am will not be able to get any insurance through extended health because of their ridiculious rates I wonder if they will give IBM back the money given to them for on my behalf – I strongly bekieve the answer is no. This is a complete breakdown in the IBM practice of repect for the individual and th basis under which the company was founded.

          • Mary Grace Narvaez says:

            I fully agree with all of the above comments. I too am shocked at the “new” IBM but I am also shocked at the name Watson in this extend health company. What is going on. I guess the “respect for the individual” and in this case mostly seniors, no longer exists. Is this phrase grandfathered. After all, as senior retiree making things more difficult doesn’t work for me. I loved my Aetna supplemental coverage. Now I have monies coming out of my bank monthly that I didn’t allow for previously. I mean really was all of this necessary. Shame on you IBM. Yes, it should be brought at shareholders meeting in April.

      • Roger Meggyesy says:
      • Aaron Harris says:

        Obama has absolutely NOTHING to do with the IBM Extend Health exchange. Maybe your ignorance has something to do with the problems you are having with Extend Health. It sounds like you Have a preexisting condition which no insurance company can reject you….thanks to President Obama and the ACA.

        • Mariana weis says:

          Mr. Harris,
          I agree with you. This is between IBM and the retirees. They just want to get rid of us and this is their first step. Extend health is not even an exchange as included in the ACA. It is an insurance agency that has contracts with SOME companies to sell SOME of their Medicare products. Not all companies have contacts with EH that have contracts with Medicare. And not all companies that have contracts with EH allow them to sell all their products. I was told by a person higher up in Blue Cross ” Why should we let EH become our agent on our best policies that we have no trouble selling ourselves.”

          • Mr. Harris
            You sound like a democrat. ………… Your stateing O’care has NOTHING to do with the IBM/EH “thingy” make not be as correct a ststement as you think.
            Directly – obviously – blantly with this criteria you are correct…….. But you should leave youself a face saving out…. Just a small amount of wiggle room.
            Lucky me my local laws forbid EH from marketing where I live. If you like their service please enjoy.
            PS it’s just thqat your post annoyed me….nd no I don’t want to blog (or whatever) with you.

        • Roger Meggyesy says:

          Who are you replying to with your 12/04 post? I haven’t seen any references on this site where the IBM/EH program is a result of Obamacare, pro or con. Using words like “Ignorance” in your reply is neither constructive or beneficial to this web site and the posts therein. We are working to clarify information and disseminate this information to allow IBM retirees to make an informed decision regarding their health care. If you want to get into a philosophical discussion on Obamacare, Socialized medicine, or topics of that nature, why don’t you start your own Blog or Yahoo message Group to accommodate that discussion? Let’s keep this discussion on a constructive, courteous level for the benefit of all. Thank you.

        • Robert Cox says:

          I dis-agree with your comment that Obma is not involved here. The arraingements I originaly had through my IBM retirement were great and I did not need to be submitting documents to get a reimbursement. Everything was handeled through IBM. I also would appreceiate that you do not call me ignorant. I know all to well what Obahma Care has created at my end and the problems are far greater than what they use to be under the old plan. Our choices have now been limited and I don’t like it. As for my pre-existing condition, it began when I was still working at IBM and I have had Kaiser as my provider all that time with no problems until Obahma care came into effect causing IBM to then change some of their options for us retirees.

      • Jim, You are not alone with some frustrations over the IBM PRIVATE Exchange process. Note that I said PRIVATE. This roll out has NOTHING to do with OBAMA. You’ve been listening to too much right-wing radio whose reason for being is to sabotage a needed program for the uninsured. Obamacare’s has only positive benefit to this retiree, i.e., the insurance company can’t deny my diabetic wife of coverage because of preexisting condition. If IBM’s private exchange is having such problems, II can understand what a system deigned to serve 30-40 million has to deal with.
        We IBM retirees are fortunate. What did I do to be an IBM retiree except to be hired by a benevolent company. Otherwise, I (you) would be among those 30-40 million the president is tying to help. How blessed can one be. It’s easy to take pot shots at such a system when you are covered..due to no effort on your part.. So Jim, stop bitching and educate yourself about what Obamacare really does for you and any 20 somethings you may have in your family.

        • mariana weis says:

          Dear Aaron,
          I agree with much of what you have said, except that you have done nothing to earn this coverage. I am sure just as my beloved husband, you worked long hard hours. I know John did . Many times more than 24 hr. straight if the client was big enough. John missed the birth of our first child, my miscarriage on Christmas eve,my fathers funeral , his mothers funeral , birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas with family . All because IBM came first. It wasn’t that he didn’t care. His father abandoned him when he was 6, so being a responsible provider was VERY important to him and we came from the culture and work ethic that you do what ever the job requires. As I am sure you did.
          All I am saying is Don’t underestimate your contributions to the company, and the country by all your hard work. And were you a veteran also? You have done plenty to earn this benefit.

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  4. Diana M Lynch says:

    How do I find medical coverage on the web????

    • Go to https://www.extendhealth.com/ibm. Go to the new links on the home page to get informed, see below. Then go to the block on the right side of the home page and enter your zip code, and fill out some more info on the next screen and proceed to look at medical, RX, Dental and vision plans in your area that are offered by Extend Health. These plans are not the only ones being offered in your area on the open market. These are only plans that have an agreement with Extend Health.

      From Home Page on the Updated and Improved EH/IBM Website
      https://www.extendhealth.com/ ibm
      Go to these links:
      Read the New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage
      New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage ?
      Extend Health Getting Started Guide ?
      HRA: How It Works ?
      IBM FAQs ?

  5. Joseph Merrette says:

    How can I find the plans being offered?

  6. Joseph Merrette says:

    How can I find the plans being offered?

    • Victoria Reti says:

      It is my understanding that after we completed online or by phone the initial input, EXtendHealth/IBM schedules our “one -on-one” call. At this time we will get the offers. I am scheduled first week of November.
      Please let me know your experience.

      • Kathy Peterson says:

        Our (my husband is the retiree) appt. is set for 10/24th and he has filled out the personal info and were sent to web page to see the plans offered and we saved a couple of them to discuss on the 24th. Now we wait. But it was not difficult.

        • Victoria Reti says:

          Please tell where did you find the offerings in advance. Unable to find any appropriate access scouring their site. It is impossible to make an important decision in 45 minutes. Thank you.

      • Adeline Harris says:

        Had my interview and signed up for my health insurance. However, I did not know that you had to apply for prescription drug coverage or else be penalized. I need to do that also. Don’t take drugs so I guess I’m going to pay a premium for drugs when I don’t use them.. Need to check on what’s available to us. BTW, my wait was approximately 1 hour and I agree it’s quite a decision to make in such a short time,

        • Carol Belmer says:

          No one has to make a decision on the first call. Just get all the information and know your options. Then you deal with that same adivsor until you actually make the choice and enroll in a plan. That will be a different person, because it has to go through the application specialists.

          You are lucky to not have needed drugs. However, consider that this could change drastically at our age, I would imagine you have fire insurance on your home and it’s contents, but have not had a fire. Hwoever, you sure can’t buy fire insurance after the house burns down. That’s what any insurance is, spreading the cost over a large number of people, so that the ones who do have big losses (no matter what kind), don’t bear a gigantic cost all on their own.

          As for the prescrption drugs, if you had coverage under the IBM plan all the years you retired; you have had continuous coverage and there is no penalty. You also would have received a letter each year veryifying that you have had continuous coverage.

      • these idiots will only talk Humana not everyone that covers your health plans !! use ur normal insurace agent !

    • Victoria Reti says:

      It is my understanding that after we completed online or by phone the initial input, EXtendHealth/IBM schedules our “one -on-one” call. At this time we will get the offers. I am scheduled first week of November.
      Please let me know your experience.

    • DO NOT USE THIS SITE !!! usean insurance agent !!! ONLY NOT IBM

  7. Joseph Merrette says:

    How can I find the plans being offered?

  8. Joseph Merrette says:

    How can I find the plans being offered?

  9. mariana weis says:

    This is ridiculous. I have called extend health 3x with the same question. I got 1..yes, 1..no..and 1…We don’t know. I have called the IBM benefits line and got the same answers. This is not an open market exchange. They do not offer all of the Medicare approved plans available to my area. This is just another insurance agency. In fact when I called on the day and time of my very important “Appointment ” that they talk about my “trained expert” simply used the Medicare compare plan site and then recommended the one Extend health offers. And he quoted me a higher cost than the company itself quoted me. And for Dental they offer Delta dental, but only 2 of the 4 plans I can buy on the open market. And this year IBM has somehow determined I am only worth 40% of the subsidy available to retirees. Last year I received the entire subsidy. as a widow somehow I am not even worth 1/2 of what a couple would get. They are still only covering one person. What difference does it make if is a retiree or a widow or widower. When we worked for IBM it took the whole family to be committed. So upset and still no answers. and if extend doesn’t have the answer and IBM can’t answer it who can?

    • Dealing with Extend Health has been a nightmare. Yesterday, I just wanted to request a form, was told to go to the website and that was a major headache. In late December 2014, I called to request a form, and they said they could not download it but that I had to wait for it to be mailed to me, which they did 5 days later. Remember, this company was chosen by IBM, supposedly experts in computers!

  10. florence luc says:


  11. I have entered my profile and set up my phone apply but am having trouble accessing the plans available in my area. The only date offered is 2013 with no override to 2014 possible. What must be done to get to the plans available to me for my review? Thanks!

  12. I have entered my profile and set up my phone apply but am having trouble accessing the plans available in my area. The only date offered is 2013 with no override to 2014 possible. What must be done to get to the plans available to me for my review? Thanks!

  13. In my county there are only two insurance companies available to my wife and myself. I find it hard to believe Extended Health is really offering me much of a choice. When I talked to an employee of Extended Health I feel she was steering me to an Advantage Medicare plan, mainly because they had ZERO premiums. I asked two different employees if I would be able to return to an Original Medicare Plan next year, one said no problem and the second person said I would have to apply thru a medical underwriters process. When I asked IBM they said talk to Extended Health. I am trying to obtain a total payment schedule for each plan before I make a decision.

    • William (Bill) Harris says:

      So you did not get your concerns answered by Extend Health and you call IBM and they tell you to call Extend Health. Ever get the feeling you are getting a run-around from IBM and they are basically washing their hands of you?

  14. Faye Stilley says:

    I spoke with the salesman at Extend Health on my scheduled appointment which I waited three weeks for. He quoted ONE medical plan, ONE prescription plan, ONE dental plan and ONE vision plan. He could not answer the terms of the plans, only the prices. He said that I should go to the web site for detail information on all the plans except the AARP plan and that I would have to go to AARP to get the details on the plan he was recommending. There is no detail of any of the plans on the Extend web site and the AARP site asks that you sign up with UHC and they will send you a plan. Too net is out…the salesman at Extend was not able to answer questions about the plans nor was he able to send copies of the proposed plans for information. He offered only a single plan rather than the selection IBM promised. The clock is running and I have no place to go for help. What happened to IBM’s promise?

    • Many retirees are using EH to enroll in a drug plan and then going out to the open market to get a medical plan. This will allow them to get their HRA as you must enroll in a medical or an Rx plan to get your HRA. Enrolling in a dental plan or a vision plan through EH will not qualify you for your HRA. I have been actively working on this EH/IBM plan since 9/15/13 and have made progress in getting the EH/IBM website improved. See updated information below.
      From Home Page on the Updated and Improved EH/IBM Website
      Go to these links:
      Read the New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage
      New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage ?
      Extend Health Getting Started Guide ?
      HRA: How It Works ?
      IBM FAQs ?
      If you are not satisfied with your answers from EH or NB, insist on speaking with a Senior Client Support Specialist at EH or ask to be connected to a mgr in the case of NB. I have done both and have made good progress in getting answers and getting my issues back to the IBM team responsible for the EH/IBM rollout.

  15. Patsy Crayton Berner says:

    I have filled out three quaarters of the profile. I tried to “return” to finish. I failed to write down my user name and password. Now I cannot “re-enter my profile. How do I contect someone for help????
    I do not see any thing that says, “contact for help” either by phone or internet. I called the 855-359-7380. She couold not give me the information. She suggested I go to Google Chrome and maybe they could change my username and password!!!! I did this and see nothing to suggest this capability!!!!!

    • patsy:
      go to the site.
      click on my account
      there are links below the sign in fields for ‘forgot username’ and ‘forgot password’ . click and follow the directions.

  16. Patsy Crayton Berner says:

    I have filled out three quaarters of the profile. I tried to “return” to finish. I failed to write down my user name and password. Now I cannot “re-enter my profile. How do I contect someone for help????
    I do not see any thing that says, “contact for help” either by phone or internet. I called the 855-359-7380. She couold not give me the information. She suggested I go to Google Chrome and maybe they could change my username and password!!!! I did this and see nothing to suggest this capability!!!!!

  17. William (Bill) Harris says:
  18. William (Bill) Harris says:
    • Mr.Harris… I was going to post some other info on this site and thought better to not do it.
      As you did I thought “out of the box” and got solutions to a multiitude of probelms with EH/IBM.
      When looking for somone to speak with “think” …. Global in your internet search… The normal routes yeild very little. The Customer Service Reps are reading a very limited script to you…. and they are “hindered” from going much further…….

  19. William (Bill) Harris says:
  20. Sandra A. Douglas says:

    What the heck is this???? Why should a Senior (some with dementia) have to go through all of this in their Golden Years. This is not right. I have spent hours on the phone between IBM Human Resouorces, Extend Health and Kaiser. Everything at Kaiser will go up for us if we stay. Both of us are in the care of doctors for heart, lung, hearing, sight. Many prescriptions will double in price for 1/3 of the amount. I know I cannot change this, but I don’t have to like it…

  21. Sandra A. Douglas says:

    What the heck is this???? Why should a Senior (some with dementia) have to go through all of this in their Golden Years. This is not right. I have spent hours on the phone between IBM Human Resouorces, Extend Health and Kaiser. Everything at Kaiser will go up for us if we stay. Both of us are in the care of doctors for heart, lung, hearing, sight. Many prescriptions will double in price for 1/3 of the amount. I know I cannot change this, but I don’t have to like it…

  22. Mike Little says:

    I have signed up through Extend Health for my “health care” but received no help with my dental care and no fair solution with optical (though I signed up for this one year prepayment). I can not find the Humana network of doctors on-line and the 2 dentists (one periodontist) I have gone to for the past 15 years are not in the network. I was so frustrated when I finally finished with Extend Health and they wanted to immediately know my satisfaction level! I foolishly threw my signup info into the recycle bin and forgot to retrieve it. I am glad they are saving themselves phone calls, but the dumb old retiree (me) is still mistreated and have no access to the network. HELP!

  23. Georgianna Champagne says:

    I am speaking on behalf of my Mom who is 86 and would be totally confused if she had to do any of this by herself. The Extend’s website is pitiful with respect to general health plans as well as specifics. We are scheduled for our phone appointment in late November. We can ask questions, talk to the advisor and be given the plans information at that time and then we have to select a plan all within 1 hour. REALLY!!!
    At the present time it seems that there are much better plans on the open market. (Maybe IBM’s intent is to drive us out.)…..IBM was the family company that made promises to their employees….guess they did and are not going to live up to those promises….disgusting

    • Many retirees are using EH to enroll in a drug plan and then going out to the open market to get a medical plan. This will allow them to get their HRA as you must enroll in a medical or a Rx plan to get your HRA. Enrolling in a dental plan or a vision plan through EH will not qualify you for your HRA. I have been actively working on this EH/IBM plan since 9/15/13 and have made progress in getting the EH/IBM website improved. See updated information below.
      From Home Page on the Updated and Improved EH/IBM Website
      Go to these links:
      Read the New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage
      New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage ?
      Extend Health Getting Started Guide ?
      HRA: How It Works ?
      IBM FAQs ?

  24. Mariana Weid says:

    I believe that IBM is trying to get rid of us…My husband worked for IBM for 30 yrs. every year we got a letter saying “you may not be making the top dollar in the industry, but your benefits can be looked at as deferred compensation” Right.
    I also was only offered one Medicare supplement plan and one dental and one vision. This is NOT an open market. Extend Health is just another insurance agent. They don’t offer all the plans in my area. They don’t negotiate group prices. They offer NO advantage at all to the retiree or spouse.
    MY husband worked 20 hr. days and missed Christmas, and birthdays etc. In fact I hitchhiked to the hospital to have my first baby because IBM had sent my husband out of town, knowing it was my due date. And when I called to tell my husband he needed to come take me to the hospital for the 2nd child I was told he was with a client to important to disturb . We lived with this kind if thing believing IBM was an investment in our future. MY husband passed away in2009.ever since then I have received his subsidy for health care. NOW I find out I am worth $1187. Less than HALF of a couples subsidy. They have said for years they will spend $3000/retiree. Well I am only 1 person. and NOW they decide I am not worth his subsidy and NOT even worth HALF his subsidy but less than 40% of what was promised.
    And there is no one to call. No one to talk to. IBM uses words like more choices or open market . NONE of which is true. And no one from IBM will contact me. I have tried everything I can think of.
    Extend health could not or would not answer my questions about so many things. I called the IBM benefits help line and the young man said all he could so was make note about what I was asking .He had no answers.
    What did IBM pay Extend health to act as administrator? That money could have been given to retirees without EH and we would be much better off.. I think IBM is trying to make it as difficult as possible to even get the subsidy. they hope we will forget to send in bills for reimbursement. It says electronic submissions would be paid in a week. But they didn’t know if fax was considered electronic submissions.
    I apologize for the rant, but in the 4 yrs. since I lost my husband I have suffered a broken neck,3 surgeries, skin cancer, and a broken foot. Knowing I had those health benefits has helped me hang on.
    Now I am just up a creek and IBM is doing everything it can to just dump us retirees and not live up to promises made for MANY years to many people.

  25. Paula Bruneau says:

    When my husband took the offered retirement, part of the deal was our health insurance would be totally paid for our lives! As we know that changed, but this is truly a hardship! I have spent 2 days trying to get answers. So much for keeping our plans and doctors!

  26. John Davidson says:

    I am retired from IBM and The Army Reserve. I currently have Medicare A and B coverage as well as TRICARE for Life. My conversation with Extend Health was less than successfull. They told me I had to sign up for a plan through them in order to get my HRA. The health adviser did not seem to understand that I did not need additional coverage. He continued to insist that I had to sign up for a plan with a monthly premium. His statement was that it would not cost me anything since it would come out of my HRA. He seemed to not understand that I might want to use the HRA to cover medical expences like dental and vision. I have had to use the Medicare book mailed to me by the government to find a plan with ZERO monthly premiums. Even though it will not cost me from the HRA, I will have to file multiple reports before TRICARE will pay their part of my medical expences because of the additional coverage. The next time I talk to EH, I hope I get someone who can understand what I need, and not what they want to pitch. I think that who ever set up the EH plan forgot they had veterans that might have different needs. I served during two wars and did my service to the country. It would be nice if my situation had been considered when this plan was established.

    • Don B. Gaskin says:

      John. your situation and mine are similar in that I too am retired military with I gather the same benefits, and IBM was a second career .

      Have you had any success in finding a way to “save” your HRA account. I am struggling even trying to find out what my options are. dental and vision are my two concerns as well.

      Thanks, DonG

      • John Davidson says:

        I went to the direct online information web site and signed up for a MEDICARE Advantage plan with aPRR for a zero premium. I still have to get my choice validated with a phone call scheduled for Nov 29, 2013. I had found the MEDICARE Advantage PRR plan in the MEDICARE book sent me by the government.

        • Kim Lansford says:

          In the booklet sent out by One Exchange aka Extend Health with an IBM logo on it, it says there is an exemption for those with TRICARE so they can still get the HRA they would have gotten. We received this booklet in June 2014

  27. My spouse is the RETIREE – so I am speaking for us both. I am in total agreement with the comments made by others in late October. As others have stated, I also called all of the phone numbers provided in our initial packet from ExtendHealth (Employee Benefits, Budco, and ExtendHealth). Nobody seemed to know anything.

    In my view, the most egregious act is the HRA (Health Reimbursement Agreement). It states in the initial September packet that whatever decision the retiree makes is IRREVOCABLE and is according to THE PLAN DETAILS. However, no one can provide any information of the PLAN DETAILS. ExtendHealth representatives indicate that the PLAN DETAILS will be mailed in early December 2013 – Duhh, duhh. What good are PLAN DETAILS after we have made INSURANCE PURCHASE DECISIONS that we are required to make before deadlines – said deadlines are different for prescription coverage, Medicare coverage, etc.

    We are being asked to ASSUME (1) whether any or all of the subsidy $$ can be spent outside of ExtendHealth; (2) how we will receive the subsidy funds; (3) if there is automatic reimbursement or if we must track the trail of paperwork in order to file / receive reimbursement (HIGH EXPECTATION for an aging retiree population); (4) and many other questions too numerous to list!

    As MARIANA WEID (Oct 23 13) says: we are “just up a creek and IBM is doing everything it can to just dump us retirees . . . “. In my view these actions border on CRIMINAL ! If someone with insight, knowledge and understanding as to where and how this FIASCO was formulated and agreed to – ? BOARD OF DIRECTORS ? – will post HERE maybe something can be improved / changed / reversed.


  28. MaryAnn Shirhall says:

    My husband is the IBM retiree. Because I manage our finances, I am the one who has been dealing with ExtendHealth. The experience has been disappointing . I did the initial profile and the phone appointment was set. We received the small information pamphlet only one day before the phone appointment. The pamphlet offered very little information and help. I had previously searched online and found the plans quite by accident. (extendhealth.com/ibm) The actual signup process took a total of 3 1/2 HOURS on the phone. All the information given previously had to be re-entered verbally AGAIN multiple times. I had four different contacts. First one was to verify the information, then to a counselor whose computer quit, then to another counselor who wanted to verify information again. She was pushing certain plans almost like she was getting a commission. She wanted me to decide which plan at that time. Finally I was transferred to the actual data-processor who had to go through each chosen plan twice since I was applying for two of us. That meant EIGHT times giving personal information: name, birthday, S.S number, address, two phone numbers, medicare claim number and activation date again. (all of that information should have been entered ONCE with proper software) After listening to her going over the chosen plan’s benefits AGAIN, I listened to a recorded disclaimer and then I had to repeat a legal statement about fraud that was being recorded. I am in my 60’s and cannot imagine what it must be like for retirees in their 80’s. It is a confusing, overwhelmingly long and impersonal process. I still don’t know if the plan I chose is really the one I want. Originally I had planned to get the information in the phone call and then do my comparisons before making the decision. However, I felt pressured to complete the process immediately and truthfully I didn’t want to go through another protracted phone call! Before the phone call I suggest a bathroom stop!

    • I agree 100% . That is the same thing my wife and I experienced with the sign up procedure. I feel for the people older than me trying to figure out this whole mess. We spent 3 hours signing up and We knew what plans we wanted. Lord help the ones that needed help with there choices.

  29. Robert Couse says:

    Extend Health is impossible. I currently have AARP with my medicare and it is great. I think IBM is trying to get rid of all of us retirees with this monster. Why don’t you just give us the $3500 to use wherever we chose on whatever plan we select without having to go thru Extend Health. Who the heck was the intelligent so and so who thought up this monister? I remember one time IBM was known as itty bitty morons this plan proves it.

  30. Robert Couse says:

    Extend Health is impossible. I currently have AARP with my medicare and it is great. I think IBM is trying to get rid of all of us retirees with this monster. Why don’t you just give us the $3500 to use wherever we chose on whatever plan we select without having to go thru Extend Health. Who the heck was the intelligent so and so who thought up this monister? I remember one time IBM was known as itty bitty morons this plan proves it.

  31. Mariana Weis says:

    I have been told I will hear from IBM . This was last Thurs. I have not heard from them. Still no answers. But I have been on other blogs by IBM retirees, and apparently the story is the same country wide. No information, no answers and no help coming from IBM or Extend Health( like they are going to care. They are going to get paid whatever happens to us.) A few people blame government(please lets not go there). But this is between IBM and its retirees. THEY made the promises, we did the work. We get the shaft. I am waiting until the very last minute to make me decisions and see what the facts are. Or what I am told are the facts. At no time at his retirement was my husband told that when he passed I would only get $1187. In fact I pulled out the letter they sent me when notified of his death and it gives a listing of what benefits I retain. And there it is “health care”. And it didn’t say “until we change our mind.” Thanks to all for listening to me……At least you let me rant…: ).

  32. mariana weis says:

    You do know that in other countries IBM can’t do this. The seniors are protected from this kind of “oops sorry”. so if they say they are doing this as a way to cut costs. They are doing it entirely on the backs of US workers. IBM, an American company built here, by citizens, is taking money away from US retirees, while protecting those retirees outside the US. Someone in my family has worked for IBM since before World Was II. And this is what we get.

  33. Ridiculous
    I called for information 2 weeks ago and was told to call back in 3 weeks. How can we make decisions?

  34. A good place to find answers and more detailed information on the changes /options for IBM Retiree Medical Coverage in 2014 (if you haven’t been to the website already) is http://www.extendhealth.com/ChoiceIBM. This Extend Health “tool” focuses on presenting a summary of Medicare Coverage Plans and expands to provide your 2014 IBM Retiree Medical Coverage Options. It also includes your Dental and Vision Plans Choices. The information is customized for you by your area (ZIP Code).
    This website is as a primer for your discussions with an (your) Extend Health Navagator. It should help in understandings what’s available for you and your spouse; explain coverage details by individual Plan; and provide a better idea of what your own and your wife’s prescription drugs wil cost in 2014. As mentioned it also elaboraes on 2014 Dentail and Vision Plan Options.
    Hope the above helps

    • To Luis R. Unless your zip code is in Puerto Rico (poss. some other places)… and from here you can’t even use there toll free#… Its been blocked from PR.
      We do be lucky because EH can’t sell health ins. here. But I still need to establish the HRA (heath reimburse A?) to get the money due me for my health care. This I am doing by circumventing the customer call center for EH. (I searched EH on the Internet and smade a number of calls till I got someone that could help.)

  35. Mariana weis says:

    Mr. Repassy is correct. this tool is available. and apparently is a good resource for what EXTEND HEALTH OFFERS. But they do not offer all the plans available in the area. At least not mine and most of the people that I have talked to. Some of the plans in my area are cheaper for the same coverage. And I still don’t know for sure what I have to buy through EH to qualify for subsidy.I have talked with people in NY. Florida and several states. They also are not offered all the plans in their area. For a lot of us, a lot depends on the Dr. within a network.Some of us don’t have the ability to change to a Dr. many miles away. But do look at this tool and evaluate it. Get lots of information from the plans in your area. Request the WRITTEN information be sent to you. That will help you when you set a time to sit down and look at all your options.

  36. William D Howes says:

    Well I have been on this website twice now and frankly heard absolutely NOTHING good about
    either Extend Health or IBM. I refuse to knock the company I worked for night and day for 32
    years as they (so far) keep sending that pension check. But I’m out of their health plan NOW. That
    happened when the EH rep said within the first 2 or 3 breaths that I couldn’t keep my Humana
    Gold Plus plan that we (spouse and me) have been in for about 24 years—2 years before retirement,
    We’re gone and will pay for it ourselves. At least the rep didn’t lie to me like Obama told everyone they could KEEP theirs.

  37. Mariana weis says:

    Promise this is my last post for a while.
    Look at the booklet that Medicare sent out. It lists the plans in your area. Look at the costs and compare your needs. REMEMBER :
    IBM has a contract with EXTEND HEALTH that has nothing to do with the government or Medicare except that the companies offering the plan must have a contract with Medicare.
    EXTEND HEALTH is just another insurance agency that has contracts with other companies to sell their plans. EXTEND HEALTH may have a contract with Blue Cross for instance to sell some or all of Blue Cross plans in an area. But Blue Cross will still also sell their plans.
    EXTEND HEALTH does not negotiate group prices with any of the companies they deal with. These are individual plans and most likely available without going through EH. EXTEND HEALTH will not intercede for you with your insurance plan if there is a problem. They only sell it. YOU will need to pay your premiums. MY understanding is that the monthly cost will not be taken from pension checks. As to if they can be deducted from Social Security checks , I do not know.
    the only advantage of working through EXTEND HEALTH is to have access to the subsidy that IBM is offering. What type of plan you must buy from EXTEND HEALTH to qualify for the IBM subsidy I have not gotten a solid answer to. I am still seeking solid answer to that.
    I know WELL CARE offers a very good( for me) RX. plan in my area ,not offered by EXTEND HEALTH !! that is cheaper overall than anything E.H. offers. No deductible and my RX. are all generics with no copay, so I will just have the monthly premium.
    Also HUMANA offers a good plan in my area, that although EXTEND HEALTH offers Humana in my area it doesn’t offer this particular plan.., HUMANA told me they just didn’t make it available to EH to sell. you need to do your own research.
    This is going to be an expensive change for me and for a number of widows I know. That is why I am saying use all the time you can to look at plans and cost and make the best decision for you. That may mean using EXTEND HEALTH only for what is required to obtain the subsidy from IBM.
    But for me it is a losing change from IBM. I was promised health care. The benefits of negotiated group rates is insurmountable when compared with individual rates. It has nothing to do with Medicare or anything else. ONLY that IBM has decided to NOT negotiate group health care rates for retirees and we are on our own.
    Thank you and read, read, read about the plans before you buy.

  38. I had suggested to IBM (via an email to a Human resource Mgr.) in 2009 that IBM set up an outside firm to administer health benefits money to be disbursed to retirees in order that they could purchase their health/medicare insurance on their local market at a slower cost with greater benefits.
    Not complecated???? IBM made it completcated enough so that anyone might make an error to the financial benefit of IBM……. clever aren’t they…..

  39. Hey guys and girls…… A good staring point for info [ medicare.gov ] use your zip code

  40. harold hawley says:

    ibm or oboma who is worst


  41. John Stalker says:

    IBM screwed us in Owego in 1994 (some people lost their entire retirement for lack of less than a week of service). I took a 40% cut in pension. IBM’s next goal…. cut the pensions of retirees, you have SS and should have saved and invested more they will say!! Screw IBM, I advise all to avoid IBM products and services!!!!!!!!

    • mariana weis says:

      Dear John,
      I agree with you. My husband was caught in the massive lay offs of 1994. He had applied for the early out in 1993 , but was told by letter he was “too valuable” to the company. Almost exactly 1 year later to the day, he was laid off. And then just before his retirement date , we received a letter stating they had “changed” how they figured the retirement. Instead of the 5 highest years, as was in the termination papers( and yes I still have the original termination papers) , it become the 5 last years. Which of course for us meant 1 1/2 yrs. of $000.00. I am sure the lawyers had it all planned out…..Our retirement date was Oct. 31 and I believe the new rules went into effect Sept. 1. We were only notified in early Oct. nothing we could do. I am sorry it happened to you.

  42. Robert Haines says:

    I agree with John Stalker and we all should avoid IBM Products and Services. I have felt this since I tired. For 32 years I was promised every year that we would have Medical coverage for the rest of our lives. It was part of our compensation. I am almost 80 years old and we should not have to make this complicated decisions every year. It becomes harder and harder. I agree also with so many of these blogs here; IBM is trying to get rid of us retires. We are a burden to them not an asset any more. They just cut off our Medical and our Retirements will be next. Then we all can apply for Medicaid. Thanks IBM

  43. Am I alone in seeing what is happening? Has the US become “land of the sheep and the home of cowards”
    In-between Obama/Democrats schenanagens and this move by IBM to extend Health (Plus much more going on up there in the US.) with nothing being done to stop any of this by individuals or Congress I can only offer my condolences to you all.
    Vernon living in Puerto Rico.
    So far it is against the law here in PR for EH to market health insurance here…… they could administer the HAR account. I’m working on that……. I’d rather the kickbacks were done locally.

  44. These are the blogs that I follow regarding EH/IBM issues.

    From Home Page on the Updated and Improved EH/IBM Website
    Go to these links:
    Read the New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage
    New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage ?
    Extend Health Getting Started Guide ?
    HRA: How It Works ?
    IBM FAQs ?

  45. There have been concerns regarding the date that you had to make a decision through Extend Health. I had initially seen December 7, 2013. I have been told by a Net Benefits mgr. that the date is December 31, 2013. I went to the improved EH/IBM website and copied the info below from the website.
    Inside You’ll Learn:
    Who we are
    What information we need
    How to provide it
    What happens next
    Getting Started
    Prepare for your 2014 Medicare Enrollment
    Your current group health care coverage ends December 31, 2013.
    Extend Health is here to help you enroll in new coverage. Call us and
    complete your enrollment using the information printed inside by
    December 31, 2013 and we guarantee you uninterrupted health
    care coverage.

  46. Roger Mundy says:

    I must have lucked out when I chose the Aetna Medicare PPO plan with IBM for 2013 as I can continue with that GROUP plan for the next 2 years. I too have talked with many of my fellow retired IBM’ers going through the same nightmares I am reading about here. At least I know what to expect next year and hopefully the Obama TRAIN WRECK, will be fixed, or eliminated before I get cast into the land of the unknown with all you unfortunate fellow IBM’ers in Jan 2016. Thanks for making my choice that much easier after reading all these unfortunate posts.
    From what I have heard from other IBM”ers Extend Health is steering people to plans (that I feel) they are getting a kickback, or commission from.

    • Roger, not sure the Aetna PPO is good beyond 2014 as that is the info I received. I have the same deal and this past year it has served me well so I am going to ride it into 2014 and hope that there are better choices for 2015. The EH offerings for Advantage plans is limited to Humana. Humana in this area has such a bad reputation that many of the doctors have refused it. Additionally we have had to use Memorial Sloan Kettering in NY and Humana is not listed as one of their approved Ins companies so that choice is out for us.

      • Greetings I am so thrilled I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was
        researching on Google for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a tremendous post and
        a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design),
        I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have saved it
        and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the
        excellent job.

  47. I too have Aetna Medicare PPO for 2013, Great plan, how did you get to keep it for the next 2 years.
    I signed up with Extended Health last Monday, it was mainly a JOKE. having to repeat your self over and over, just for their recording. Still don’t know how good the insurance will be (Anthem Plan N)
    Wife took Anthem Plan F. Extend Health did not offer any Aetna plans in my area.

  48. I offer this advice to all as a FYI only. You make your own decisions.

    ANYTHING TOLD TO YOU BY EH OR IBM TRY TO GET THEM TO CONFIRM WHAT THEY TELL YOU IN AN EMAIL. This at least partial will protect you from some of the incompetance and BS you might be subjected to……… AND ALWAYS TRY TO GET TO A MANAGER..(especially for emails). OR AT LEAST SOMEONE WHO SAYS THEY ARE IN MANAGEMENT……
    Note: Customer service reps are reading from a script and have little or no authority.
    Extra note. I live in sunny Puerto Rico and am exempt from Obama care and EH advice and yet the many problems I’ve encountered trying to get my HRA takes up my time. over two dozens calls and more than 35 emails till I was assured (by a managers emails) I would not lose my HRA money.
    Be careful all of you out threre.

  49. We spent 2 1/2 hours on the phone doing this. It was exhausting!!! What a mess and…what a shame. Shame on you IBM for doing this to your retirees who gave you many many years of hard work and dedication.

  50. Mariana weis says:

    I have spoken with a Vice President of IBM. I will not give the name as I didn’t ask permission to. I was told that IBM had their lawyers going over all paper work concerning medical health coverage since the mid ’90’s and the word used was always RETIREE, and the surviving spouse was not promised health coverage. I was very upset about the surviving spouse subsidy. We are worth less than half a couple. Wish I knew that many years ago. told him that every year we received a letter telling us to consider the health benefits for life as deferred compensation.
    The gentleman said he had never seen such a letter, but agreed with me that he had not worked for IBM in the 60’s or 70’s or 80’s(.Remember the 70’s when IBM was doing everything possible to keep out unions and making all types of promises. Do you have any of those letters?) I am presently looking to see if I can find one of those booklets or letters. It could change things, for surviving spouses anyway.
    So if you have a copy of such a letter, or the yearly booklet that came with the renewal of your contract keep a copy and send a copy to Dr. Rhee vice president of health integration. and I respectfully would like a copy by email to me.
    I have learned from the IBM vice president that you can get a part D through EH and be eligible for your entire subsidy .I was told that to submit receipts by fax is considered electronic submission and would be quicker for reimbursement. I pay my part D through my social security check and EH had no idea if SS would send a electronic statement or if I sent a copy of the statement I get from SS at the beginning of the year showing the deduction would be sufficient proof.
    The vice president of IBM said he was assured about 70% of retirees are satisfied with their EH experience. I told him I doubt those numbers, but tried to keep it polite.
    You can send an email to DR. Rhee at IBM and tell him of your experiences and feelings and your satisfaction level with this arraignment. Things are set for this year buy maybe we can have an effect on next years arraignments. Just skip EH altogether and give us the HRA. I did tell the person I talked to that many of us believe that IBM hopes to receive millions back at the end of the year as retirees forget to send in for reimbursement or EH refuses reimbursements for different reasons or people just give up on the process. After all how many time will you send a snail mail packet of receipts(say you do yours monthly as I plan) only to get a rejection letter that tells you to start over or get better information or diagnostic codes. He had no response to that. He stated he had to hurry as he was due at a dinner. I told him how lucky his wife was as I could never count on my husband being able to make a dinner or any other event( including the birth of his children) because he was on call 24/7.. I thanked him for his call and we hung up.
    As I said he started out the conversation telling me how the lawyers had combed documents for anything promising spouses anything .But he did become very nice and personable as the talk went on and was always polite and respectful and told me to call him with new questions anytime.

    • Re: Mariana Weis
      If we could possibly speak with each other to compare notes I would appreciate it. I do not have a copy of the letter/brochure “hinting” my spouse would also be covered but I vagely remember something in the leveling process when I grab the early retirement option in 1991.
      I am sensing a pattern with IBM and other entities that seems detrimental to me and possible others.

      note: Living in Puerto Rico has saved me from the Obamacare debacle…. V.

  51. Well I had just had my 2- 1/2 phone interview with a rep from EH and it was a disaster! I retired early from IBM in 06′ from a medical reasons. I began receiving Social Security thru by Mcre/Humana Gold (primary carrier) through disability with IBM-UHC (2ndary). The EH rep kept quoting me prices, charges, deductibles, prescription drug costs, etc. then promptly told me I had to make a decision. She said if I didnt choose EH I would lose my benefits with IBM. I kept telling her IBM was my 2nd carrier and Humana through Social Security was primary. My premiums for the primary carrier were deducted from my SS check, I didnt need all that she was quoting me including a prescription plan. (Mind you one can have (ONLY) one drug plan) She kept insisting I needed to chose one of the plans she quoted, if not I was going to lose my benefits with IBM. She then asked me what the premium I was paying for my Humana plan? Again I explained to her about my primary carrier/how the premium was being paid. Ms. Warren IBM is offering you these plans to help you and thats what Im here for. You will loose your present benefits with IBM unless you accept one of the plans offered, she stated. I told her my primary had nothing to with my 2nd carrier. How can you say IBM/UHC wont carry me anymore as my 2nd insurance when One has nothing to do with the other sort of speak. Well Ms. Warren you can call us back when you decide when and if you want to sign up with EH, if not your 2nd coverage with IBM will be no more after Dec. 21, 2013. Tell me people, how can this be? How can they make such a decision for benefits issued through Social Security/Medicare? Am I the dumb one here? Hey I will the first to say Im wrong if I am, but please someone explain to me! Its hard for me to just understand the dos and donts of Mcre. Lord knows I dont know nor want to know about EH! Thanx for allowing me to vent. If they are correct, I thank God for my Humana Gold HMO. If I have to only be covered through them, I shudder to think!

    • Carol Belmer says:

      Did you not receive the letter from IBM that they will no long be providing the insurance that they have provided in the past? What Extend Health does, is transition you to replacement coverage, for your secondary carrier. Because IBM is no longer providing the insurance, and the government subdisizes them for doing so, they are passing that subsidy on to you ($3,000 if you are the retiree, a lesser amount for the widow/widower of a retiree). You are not required to get both through EH. If you want, you only need to get one; but it must be either the medical or prescription coverage through EH. The dental or vision care will not qualify you for the subsidy.

    • Mariana Weis says:

      Hello, a few questions….Is you medical disability paid by social security and has nothing to do with IBM? Is it unrelated to a work injury? Did you apply for the disability though Social Security and not given by or applied for through IBM? Call social security and talk to a senior supervisor if you don’t know the ans. In fact call and get the ans. anyway. Ask them to send you the information via email. This gives you time to understand it.
      MY understanding it if your disability is not work related and through IBM you can keep what you have. BUT for 2ndery ins. you will need to choose something from IBM. Does you present arraignment give you RX. coverage? if not look at a part D plan that can fill that need for you. That will entitle you to the subsidy? are you looking for something to supplement your present coverage for medical expenses only. If so call your present carrier and ask their advise as to a solution. I you have United health care perhaps you could choose a cheap plan from EH and United’s coordination of benefits will kick in.
      Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.I AM NOT an ins. agent. But I billed Medical ins. for some years and then was a patient advocate that worked with ins. companies to help patients resolve problems or reach an agreement. I am NOT an agent, not licensed not claiming to be an expert. But I do know some quest. to ask and some things to consider.
      Take care, Mariana Weis

    • Roger Meggyesy says:


      I have been in contact with the IBM VP of HR and she is going to look into your case. Please let me know if you require additional help.

  52. Mariana Weis says:

    Dear Friends and IBM retirees,
    Please be very careful and double check your choices before you make your decisions. The IBM letter says you have until Dec.7 to make decisions. I believe you can make some changes after that until the end of Dec.
    I know for a FACT if you are on a PART D ,and like it, and wish to stay with it, and you enroll through EH for it…Medicare will refuse your enrollment. Because your original agent is considered your agent. and to enroll in the same part D plan through EH is considered “CHURINING” by Medicare and they will refuse your application. I have gotten this from EH, Medicare and a IBM Vice president.
    NOW, if this is true for PART D(and I KNOW it is) is it true for a Medicare supplement and or advantage plan also.in other words, If I have Aetna Medicare supplement and want to keep it and I sign up for it through EH will it be refused also? Because I originally signed with Aetna? and now EH will be the agent of record. Will Medicare consider this churning? I don’t know the answer. I am going to email the IBM Vice president that I have been in contact with and ask. But being weekend I don’t know when I will hear. You can Call EH. Ask for Ms. Brown at 801-415-1753. She seems to know a lot of the answers other EH agents do not know.
    Please remember this is all between IBM and retirees. It has nothing to do with the ACA ,government or anything else. Except that the government has in the past ( and may still being doing so)given IBM a subsidy to keep health care for retirees. Every year I request the entire financial report from IBM. I keep an eye on the pension plan $$ and the health care $$ and other spending. It is a lot to wade through but worth it. Still did not see EH thing coming.
    Thank you, Mariana Weis

    • Roger Meggyesy says:

      EH will guarantee you obtaining insurance coverage until December 31, 2013. Go to the improved EH/IBM website.
      Below is an email I received from the IBM VP for HR regarding AOR.
      Roger, this is a followup to my email below with more information on the Agent of Record process.
      For Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, the federal government (CMS) governs the process for any duplicate coverage. Any application that Extend Health would submit to the health plan that is then forwarded to CMS will reject the enrollment with “code 38” a.k.a. “Enrollment Rejected, Currently Enrolled in Same Plan” so the plan will deny the application for the same reason and probably not even send it to CMS for approval in the first place.

      For Medigap plans the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) model Medicare Supplement regulations on which most states base their rules specifically states: “Any sale of a Medicare supplement policy or certificate that will provide an individual more than one Medicare supplement policy or certificate is prohibited.” So an issuer or agent can’t knowingly enroll a person in duplicative coverage. The companies then decide how they will administratively enforce the rules which generally means “denied due to duplicate”.

      It is true that an individual can pursue an Agent of Record change with an insurance company directly. Extend Health cannot do this. The Agent of Record change has a very low chance of success and usually is generally recommended under limited circumstances:

      1. Agent/broker error and/or misconduct
      2. Incorrect Communications (from the client, broker, carrier, etc.)

      When a participant is enrolled in a plan directly with a carrier, and that exact same plan is offered through EH, the participant has the option to call the carrier and request that the Agent of Record be changed to Extend Health. Each carrier has different processes and guidelines that need to be followed for the Agent of Record request to be recognized. After the Agent of Record request has been recognized, the carrier will make a decision on the request, usually within 90 days. In Extend Health’s experience, this decision is usually negative, resulting in the carrier retaining the Agent of Record. We know some carriers like AARP for Medigap plans will not process any AOR changes. However, in some rare cases, the Agent of Record request is approved so if you are willing to go through the process, it is your choice. The issue will be a matter of timing. If your request takes 90 days then this will put you into 2014 without any coverage so that’s a risk that I want to point out.


      • Mariana weis says:

        Thank you so much for the information. It should be most helpful for a lot of retirees. So my understanding is then if someone signs up for or has signed up for( through EH) a plan they already are enrolled in that request for enrollment for ins. Through EH will be denied. And since they will not have EH as their agent of record, they will then not be eligible for the IBM subsidies. Is this how you read it? The VP that I talked to was not IBM’s for HR. but was for Medical transition(I believe they call it). I don’t believe many retirees knew this. It really changes a lot of things. Especially for people that believed they could sign up for their present coverage. Maybe that is why EH offers so few of the plans offered in my area. I did notice that on the EH website it instructs you to contact AARP directly for information and enrollment. I bet that is so AARP can avoid just such situation from occurring.
        Again thank you so much for the time to pass on the information. We appreciate your time and effort. Did IBM know all these pitfalls at the time they signed up with EH.?
        I know when I had my appointment with EH and discussed my part D, and saw they had it, I was informed I could sign up for it. seems kind of deceptive to me. But that is IMHO.
        Again thank you . You have ben a great help. Mariana Weis

        • Roger Meggyesy says:

          You can either go through the process off trying to get your present insurance carrier to change AOR to EH. I am still fighting with Summacare to do this. Or do what a lot of folks are doing. They get their Rx plan through EH and that makes you eligible to receive your HRA. Then they get a medical plan on the open market, and as many posts attest to, they get these medical plans cheaper than through EH. I am working on that as a backup in case I don’t succeed in getting my AOR changed.
          Remember, you have to get either your Medical Plan or your Rx plan through EH to be able to get your HRA. Getting either your Dental or Vision plan through EH does NOT qualify you to receive your HRA.

  53. Note: I live in Puerto Rico and (so far) I am exempt from O’Care and EH signing me up for a Medicare policy….. Reading the posts here I consider myself very lucky. In fact from PR I can’t even dial the EH toll free #, its blocked..So I call through IBM Fidelity switchboard. Nor can I create a correct record using my telephone area code or my zip code when I do get through. (EH has inserted false numbers to create a mock record for me.) Still I worry about the “OTHER SHOE” with my HRA account.
    It sounds like/seems to me that you people up there (US) are actually being forced to use EH. Similar to what O’Care is trying to do to get people to enroll into O’Care. If you don’t buy from them do you lose your HRA account? Doesn’t that border on illegal? Doesn’t that bother anyone?
    Does anyone have any idea as to how much EH/heath insurance company may receive as a commission (kickback) from Medicare to sign someone up? It seems to be a very well kept secret. Even from doctor’s offices
    All this seems as if you all are dealing with a used car salesman………. Of course my apologies to used car salesmen.
    Is there anyone up there in “the land of the free and home of the brave” considering a class action lawsuit? Is there anyone left in the USA that has any idea what is changing in our government????
    Vernon in sunny Puerto Rico…….

  54. Roger Meggyesy says:

    Take a look at this YouTube an see what is going on within Obamacare with regard to your Privacy Rights.

  55. mariana weis says:

    Some people are saying that they get to keep their Aetna PPO from last year. How is IBM making this available?
    If they go directly thru Aetna, they are not eligible for the subsidy.
    If they go thru EH they will be denied because of AOR rules.
    So Is IBM making their $$ available to them outside of EH.?
    Is this discrimination against the rest of us? I mean no offense to those who get to keep their Aetna, go for it, and good for you.
    But what about those of us that had Aetna Medicare supplement . Why were we not offered this opportunity? What about everyone else.?
    Are the rules not suppose to be fair and equal to everyone.
    I have been busy for a little while(reoccurrence of skin cancer) so have not been on this site. And yes I know I can get my RX thru EH and Medical outside. I have not done anything yet.
    I am still so upset over the reduction in the subsidy for widows. We never agreed to that. I am still looking through my records to see if I can find a copy of the contracts and letters we got every year from IBM. They always said health care for life should be considered (deferred compensation).From talking to the VP of IBM I got the distinct impression this was not the end of changes.
    With my skin cancer I don’t want to change Dr. and hospitals. etc. And this change in subsidy will hit me and a lot of widows very hard. Not trying to be a cry-baby. But what did I sacrifice all those years for. All the holidays and birthdays and child births .All the time John was working 20 hrs. a day or gone 3-6 months at a time for training. Even after he was laid off his manager asked him to train his replacement. And HE DID!! they promised to pay him for it. He felt it was the honorable thing to do. And what happened. after he did it, IBM send a letter telling us the manager had no authority to make such an offer, and he was still on unpaid leave and could be fired at anytime .So at their offered rate, he did $15,000 worth of work for nothing.
    Sorry for the rant. We believed we were looking out for our future. I sacrificed so much, missed so much time with John. And now he is gone and the “future” we sacrificed for is also.
    I am right now between “take and gun and shoot me” and” give me the gun and I will do it myself”.
    Maybe I will just let the skin cancer do its thing, and stop fighting things altogether.
    The IBM VP gave me the phone number to his personal assistant. That was very nice. But I understand the new rules, I understand my options or non options( as see them) so I have not bothered him. Further explanation is not going to help or change anything. Doing the right thing on IBM’s part is the answer. And that is not going to happen.
    PS. This is not about the ACA as some people think. And if you are concerned about privacy. Look at the policy the” banking by phone app.” has about what they do and can do with your phone and data whether you know it or not. I recently uninstalled mine because I read the policy in full. And I have tried to avoid politics. But all this non privacy stuff began with the patriot act and under Pres. G.W. B. .” I won’t mention politics again. not the issue here. And if IBM can get us off topic they will love that”

  56. Aetna’s PPO Advantage does not qualify for IBMs HRA–why not? It is only offered to those who already have it in those states where it was offered. The plan changed to add a $270 deductible for drug coverage (PLAN D). I sure hope EH offers more then just Humana for advantage in 2015 as it is not well received here in KY or in major hospitals. They are like the mafia dictating rates, number of patients a doctors sees a day, and directs treatment according to their ideas. Purely profit motivated.
    Want to fix health care costs—demand that Washington declare all medical be non-profit and watch the costs drop like a rock.

  57. Correction to my previous statement—-the Aetna PPO Advantage —IBM has offered to extend the plan for 2 years–through December 2015. After reading all the paper one more time, I did find where it states that.

  58. Roger Meggyesy says:

    This post is intended for Alison Terry. I could not do a reply directly to your post because there was no Reply option button on your post. I was concerned that by not getting either a Medical plan OR an Rx plan through Extend Health you are going to leave either $3500 or $3000 on the table. These numbers would be correspondingly less if you opted for the IBM HRA survivors option. The amounts above are your money as you purchased annuities while you were working as part of your IBM pay package. I have my own medical plan that is not purchased through EH. I purchased the Humana Walmart drug plan for $12.60/mo through EH. Now that returns to me, $3500 of my money, that has been placed into my HRA account. This can be used for a multitude of eligible medical expenses and insurance premiums for 2014.
    If your present medical plan has Rx coverage you will not be able to do this as you are not allowed to participate in multiple Rx plans in the same year. My medical insurance plan does not have Rx coverage so getting the Humana Rx ins through EH was not a problem.
    The EH/IBM website has been improved greatly since it was rolled out in September. If you have not been back to the website lately there are many good links on the home page that would be of assistance. Also, Extend Health is signing up more insurance providers every day. It may pay to look and see what is available now. From an EH standpoint you can make changes or enroll up to December 31, 2013. Refer to the EH/IBM website below.
    Just a note, I am not a shill for EH or IBM. My goal was to get coverage that I want as well as to try to get some of the money back that purchased my health benefits 22 years ago even if it is $3500 at a time. Better than nothing or a stick in the eye.
    From the EH/IBM Home Page on the Updated and Improved EH/IBM Website
    https://www.extendhealth.com/ibm. copy and paste into your browser.
    Go to these links on the home page. you don’t have to register to do so:
    Read the New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage
    New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage ?
    Extend Health Getting Started Guide ?
    HRA: How It Works ? This is where you will find the eligible reimbursement list.

    IBM Frequently Asked Questions
    Download the FAQS ?


    • Earl Kleven says:

      Roger, just wanted to say that I agree with your points about people leaving money on the table. I need all the help I can get and the HRA is the way to go. Earl

  59. Mariana Weis says:

    I just want to thank everyone that has taken time to post on this blog and on this subject. Now that the Dec. 7 date is here I hope everyone has been able to make the best decisions for themselves. I did get Rx. coverage thru EH. the first call I was on hold for 43 min. when I got dropped . The second call I talked to person 1,gave all the info. I had put online to make enrollment quicker(!),was transferred to person2, repeated all info. was transferred to person 3,same info repeated, was transferred to person 4,repeated info, transferred to person 5. She was the actual enroller!? She spoke so fast at several times I had to ask her to slow down. I know they have to follow a script for all the rules. But the 3 rd. time I asked her to slow down, she asked if I needed a translator, and was English my first language!!! I like to hear what I am agreeing to. Make sure it is everything that is as I have researched it should be. This call took 75 min. And I was only enrolling in ONE plan. I can imagine what I was like if you were enrolling for 2 people or in more than one plan.
    Please Remember:
    1. Because your coverage is ending because the company is ending it, you should be able to make changes until Dec. 31. That is my understanding from Medicare and ins. agents. If that is untrue, please correct me.
    2. Remember whatever choices you made, any questions you have about your insurance coverage, you must contact the ins. company . Neither IBM or Extend have any further responsibility to you for you ins. coverage or benefits . Extend Health was contracted by IBM merely to facilitate you buying Medicare ins. and they will handle the reimbursement policy. Which as was relayed to me is very complicated if you don’t have a company that is part of the automatic reimbursement agreement with EH.
    3. I was told that to get reimbursement I will have to request a form from EH(which they will send by snail mail) and I will have to file that form by snail mail. I was told several times that reimbursement can take from 4-8 weeks. I am not a fan of automatic bank draft, I don’t want them having my bank info. Therefore , that may be why mine will take longer. I don’t know . I want mine taken from my Social Security check, that has gone so smoothly for me. And I know what amount I get in that Social Security deposit is my total for the month . Also I am paying my Medicare supplement ins. 6 months at a time. That way I won’t have to apply for reimbursement from EH every month.
    4. But I do know you should be very careful and keep all emails and correspondence you receive from your insurer. They will be the one you need to deal with for ALL problems and payments to providers.
    Again, I thank everyone for their info. and help to those of us on the forum. I will still be in touch with Dr. Rhee, IBM VP. about how things go with EH as he has asked me to. If you have questions or experiences you want IBM to know about be sure to email .
    Human Resources
    Phone: 914 499 6400
    e-mail: [email protected]
    Perhaps we can make a difference in how next year is handled. although the impression I have got from IBM, this is just the first step in getting rid of us, especially surviving spouses. I have found a person that tells me he has letter from IBM from the 70’s that has different language than they are saying now about coverage for life. I am hopefully going to get him to send that to Dr. Rhee, or send it to me and I will forward it. He is hesitant, for fear of retaliation. All we can do is keep on keeping on, and think ahead, but watch our back.

    • Roger Meggyesy says:

      I posted this on another part of the website but will also post it here as a reply to Mariana.
      I sent a note to the new IBM Support Extend Health email address as to the composition of the support group, and also asked if they were serious in fixing the Extend Health Issues. Below is the answer I received.

      Dear Roger Meggyesy,
      Thank you for taking time out of your day to write Extend Health, a Towers Watson Division, with your questions regarding the IBM email support group. We are a group of hand picked Senior Customer Service Reps who work for Extend Health. We have each received extensive and ongoing training concerning the IBM retirees and the issues they face, both nationally and internationally, concerning their Medicare coverage.

      We track every email and provide daily and weekly reports on all issues, as well as verbatim comments from the retirees. These reports and comments are sent to both Senior Extend Health and IBM personnel. Additionally we have direct access to back office individuals within Extend Health, as well as the various insurance carriers, to get issues solved as quickly and efficiently as possible.

      As you know this is a very high priority for both IBM and Extend Health and both have felt they could have their “fingers on the pulse” more effectively regarding potential issues, through this mechanism than through the phones. So far activity has been encouraging, though roll-out of this option has just started.

      If you have any other concerns or questions please contact us at the number listed below or reply to this email. 1-855-359-7380.
      Please feed your issues and concerns with an Email sent to the address below.
      IBMsupport @ extendhealth.com. Remove spaces around the @ for a valid Email address.


      • Roger, let me start out with a big thank you for your constructive support to all. Complaining is easy–trying to drive home improvements and staying positive is a lot harder–thanks.-
        As a IBM manager since 1979, there were many HR presentations that included “benefits” as part of the overall compensation in an attempt to improve employee morale when salary was compared to competition. I never saw anything that said “benefits for life” although it might have been implied.
        If there were 3-4 recommendations to improve this mess, what would yours be?
        1- IBM simply cut a check for the HRA so we could use it on the open market—Tax ramifications?!
        2- Push EH to broaden their offering especially as it applies to advantage plans.
        3- Start the end of year renewal plan a bit earlier with clearer processes and some examples of how to use the system to your advantage ie—buy part D through EH to get the HRA etc.
        PS Don’t read EHs privacy policy—it’s not a privacy policy at all but a disclaimer CYA.

        • Roger Meggyesy says:

          Please send me your email address so I can provide some suggestions regarding what needs to be done to improve the Extend Health IBM situation. rmeggy @ bellsouth.net. Remove the spaces around the @ to get a valid email address.

        • Mariana Weis says:

          Dear Warren,
          I note that you say you have been a manager for IBM since 1979. My husband started with them in 1965 and my uncle in 1940 and other members of my family since the 1943-1949.I realize things change with time. But being from a very poor family, starting work at age 12(after school, all summer sometimes 12hrs. a day, and holding 2 jobs in high school to pay tuition) and being on my own at 18 and married to my beloved husband at 19 I learned to watch my money, read all contracts completely, and keep records. When we had what they termed” major medical” the split was 80-20. So each month I had to send in(by snail mail then Ha!) all the medical bills to get reimbursement. And I worked part time for a hospital billing ins. And after that as a patient advocate to help people with massive medical bills, work out those bills with the ins. company and the Dr. or hospital. I only say these things to show that as the caretaker of my family, I paid very close attention to what was printed and said about medical ins.
          And I know for a fact that we were promised medical ins. for life in the 60’s and very early 70’s. After my husband died in 2009, and I broke my neck in 2011, I had to move and REALLY downsized. Until then I had the letters and contracts from IBM dating back to Nov.1 1965.My children in attempting to help and in their optimism, considered all those records as trash. They said “mom, IBM is not going to cut you off after all these years” HA.. … I just wanted to put in my 2 cents, that we as employees were not imagining these promises. and I am not trying now to “make up” things that were never said. I know the surviving spouses are going to take another hit next year. AS Dr. Rhee’s words were” many ,many lawyers have gone over the wording in all documents back to the mid 1990’s” So they are planning on using the word “Retiree” as a goal post. and in case people don’t realize the impact( or frankly care) my HRA or subsidy went from $3000, to $1187. And my husband never signed one of the documents that IBM now requires of the living retirees. And I am pretty sure thy are going to use that next year as a unmeet condition for the HRA.
          As a interested member of the IBM community I have required each year to receive a copy of the summary of financial statements that regard medical ins. and pensions. And if I want the entire report I request it. And as of the end of Dec. 2012 the IBM fund for retiree health care ins. had $392,515,114 in it. and yes all the commas are in the right place.
          All my life I have cared about other people. When it was just John and I , after the children had left home, we paid as much for IBM medical as a family of 4. When I spoke to Dr.Rhee in Nov. he stated that last year as a widow other retirees had “helped subsidize my rates. I said” AS a couple John and I subsidized family rates.( and that was for many years) So what ? We are all part of the IBM family, I don’t care. We all help out. But apparently that is an old fashion way of thinking.
          Again, sorry to rant, but with this change and I KNOW they aren’t going to raise my pension, I am going to find a way to come up with nearly $120 more a month and that is without any vision or dental, as I can’t afford that.

  60. Roger Meggyesy says:

    I have posted some of this information here but have posted all of it on the various sites i have listed below. There are lots of good comments and information to help Medicare eligible retirees select a health Plan for 2014. I know time is short but we will keep trying to give as much information to you as we come upon it.
    For those reading this blog here are some other websites that are being used by IBM Retirees and this new way of Health Care Life.
    IBM Blogs and Yahoo Groups:

    From Home Page on the Updated and Improved EH/IBM Website
    Go to these links:
    Read the New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage
    New Approach to Retiree Health Care Coverage ?
    Extend Health Getting Started Guide ?
    HRA: How It Works ? This is where you will find the eligible reimbursement list.

    IBM Frequently Asked Questions
    Download the FAQS ?

    Now for some more good news:
    IBM Dedicated Feedback Mailbox:
    [email protected]
    This is what we pushed for. Please feedback constructive comments to this site to show both IBM and Extend Health that the roll-out of this program has left a lot to be desired. Remember, if we don’t take the time to generate feedback then we have no one to blame but ourselves if problems exist. Thank you.
    Roger aka Attila the Hun


  61. I have worked for a local college since retiring in 2002. I have a healthcare plan through the college and also had the IBM Medical Supplement Plan at no cost for both myself and my wife. I only used the college plan and had the IBM plan only to maintain a connection to IBM in case I needed it later on. I only had MC part A since I had creditable coverage at the college and would not be penalized for part B or D later. At first I was not interested in the IBM offering thru EH but recently started to look at it. Since I will stop working in the next year or two and will then have to go on MC, as IBM will no longer offer ins, I thought it might be wise to switch now to take advantage of the HRA IBM is offering. I did a lot of research on the EH website of the various medical, prescription, dental and vision plans and found the site to be very informative. I made several calls to EH and was connected within a couple minutes to a rep each time. They all seemed knowledgeable and were able to answer my questions or get the answer if they did not know for sure. After much research and cost comparing I decided to make the move to MC and a MC Advantage plan. The cost of this plan along with a dental and vision plan was approximately the same as I had been paying for my current comparable coverage. However, by switching, the HRA amount from IBM would cover nearly the entire cost of my MC part B, medical, dental and vision coverage. Seemed like a no brainer! I went to the local SS office and signed up for part B and then called EH to sign up. I was connected immediately to the EH agent that I had been working with and confirmed which plans I wanted for my wife and myself. He did recommend a better dental plan than the one I had originally chosen and explained why it was better. I agreed. At that point I was transferred to an enrollment specialist and was enrolled. This process took about an hour since everything was explained and verified. I had no problems with anyone or anything and felt the process was generally very good. Yes, it was nice to have IBM insurance and the college insurance and I was, and still am, somewhat aprehensive but MC and supplemental ins is often the only option for many and to get most of it paid for with the HSA was too good to pass up. I hope it all works as well as I hope it does and I see no reason it won’t but time will tell. Good luck and best regards to all.

    • Roger Meggyesy says:

      It was a pleasure to read your current post. This is what we have been fighting for since 9/15/2013. Many IBM retirees fed back information regarding all of the shortcomings of this IBM/EH roll-out. I have spent hours doing this as I monitor and answer posts on 3 Yahoo IBM Message Groups, 1 IBM Medicare Blogger site and this DFW site. Your post shows that we have made a lot of progress to clean up all of the issues and concerns that IBM retirees had since the beginning of the roll-out this fall. We have more work to do and constructive feedback is necessary to gain the improvements we need. The newest feedback mechanism is the IBM Support Email feedback link. Encourage other Retirees to use this link to submit constructive issues and concerns back to IBM and Extend Health.
      IBMsupport @ extendhealth.com. Remove the blanks around the @ to get a valid email address.

  62. mariana weis says:

    I was wondering if any one else in Texas was having trouble getting their Medicare supp. ins. policy . After I signed for a Rx. plan with EH, I went to an outside agent for a supplement. I chose Mutual of Omaha because all my Dr. said they had no problem with them and because of the rate. I enrolled over the phone and faxed the letters and information sent out by IBM to the agent. He sent it all to Omaha. I was then notified that the information sent to everyone by IBM was not sufficient to guarantee me acceptance because it was not sent to me at my address by name. Just Dear IBM retiree. They needed a letter from the company saying the group plan was ending and I was not leaving voluntarily.
    So I tried contacting the service center and Dr. Rhee and his assistant and the VP or HR. It took several days( and Dec. running out) before I got an answer. I told them what the letter had to say and they overnighted a letter for me to fax to Mutual of Omaha. Well that was this past Thurs. And of course it is too early for Mutual of Omaha to have reviewed it yet.
    My concern is that although I told them what the letter needed to say , the words IBM used were sort of sliding away for saying straight out the group plan was ending. It said “Because of change in IBM plans, the plans you choose for 2013 will not be available to you for 2014.”
    This is not clear cut language. Why doesn’t IBM just say” No more Group plans why all this we are offering through Eh, more choice, nonsense. Maybe it has something legal to do with the $392,535,114 they had at the end of 2012 In the IBM retiree Medical coverage fund. Maybe if they said they were just ending the plan that money might have to be accounted for. or explained how it is going to be used. I don’t know . And of course the information on the amount for 2013 is not available yet.
    . I still do not know if I have a Medicare supp. for next year.
    Some one from “the IBM TEAM” what ever that means, called on Fri. to see if I got the letter. And she left her name and number so I have someone to reach out to. But Time is running out. No one is working next week and probably not until Jan 2. I am really afraid I might not have coverage by Dec. 31 the deadline. I don’t know? I did have to sacrifice dental and vision coverage, just not enough s/s and pension to go around.
    Thanks everyone.

  63. Roger Meggyesy says:

    I received my Summary Plan Description USHR 112 Effective: January 1, 2014. I have noted specific sections of the document that are specifically addressed to Medicare Eligible Retirees.
    On pages 165-166 it discusses Coverage for Medicare-Eligible Retirees.
    On pages 167-176 it discusses the Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA).
    Your questions can be addressed by calling the IBM Employee Services Center at 1-800-796-9876.


  64. Roger Meggyesy says:

    Late information on Dental and Vision Coverage I would like to share. I realize it is late in the game but I just ran on to this the day before Christmas.
    I found a health care brokerage website called eHealthmedicare.com. It appears that they concentrate on Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Rx plans. However, I found a link into their Dental and Vision plans. I was prepared to self-insure for both dental and vision until I looked at this site and ran the numbers. For a typical Delta Dental Plan for $36.00/mo that I had previously priced, they had an HMO plan from Humana for $13.99/mo. (plan H1215). They also had many Vision plans and one that I am running the numbers on is a plan from VSP Choice Plan for Individuals for $12.50/mo.

    Other Misc. Info:
    I made a list of the message groups, Blogs and a specific DFWIBMers.org website that I have been tracking and posting information on, primarily the IBM/EH fiasco. Some interesting facts.
    IBM Pensions Msg Group has 4412 members
    IBM Retirees Msg Group has 2173 members.
    IBM Retiree Issues Msg Group has 1362 members
    IBM Medicare Options Blogger site has 153 members
    DFWIBMer.org website has ?? members
    I have learned a lot from each of the 5 sites that I monitor and thank everyone for their participation and contributions. If we could only convey this information to all of the IBM Retirees that aren’t aware that these sites exist, it would be great. I really feel bad for them. Any Ideas?? Are there any other sites for IBMer communications that any of you know about?

    As I perused the new 2014 SPD document I got to the last page and it brought to mind some of the posts that discussed how long HRA or any other benefits would be around. I scanned it in and have included it here. The answer to any of these how long questions is, Who knows?

    IBM reserves the right, at its discretion, to amend, change or terminate any of its benefits plans, programs,
    practices or policies, as the Company requires. Nothing contained in this book shall be construed
    as creating an express or implied obligation on the part of IBM to maintain such benefits plans, programs,
    practices or policies.
    IBM’s benefit plans may be amended by written resolution of the Board of Directors or any Committee to
    which the Board has delegated power. The Retirement Plans Committee is authorized to amend any plan
    which is funded through a trust, including the IBM Plan All other benefit plans may be amended by the
    IBM chief human resources officer or other IBM executive by means of a written instrument, such as the
    text of a plan, a summary plan description, a trust agreement, an insurance contract or insurance certificate, an administrative services contract, the administrative documents and procedures for a plan, an
    electronic medium notice, a hard copy bulletin board notice or an announcement letter or written materials that are approved by said chief human resources officer or other IBM executive and maintained with the records of the affected benefit plan.

    Happy New Year

    Page 232

  65. Roger Meggyesy says:

    There have been a number of concerns raised about Reimbursement for Medicare Part B Premiums using the SHAP process and the EH HRA process. Questions have arisen with regard to double dipping and also what documentation is necessary to submit to Extend Health for Part B reimbursement. I was working with Net Benefits management and I was assured we would have documented answers by Monday 12/30.
    I was contacted by Net Benefits management Monday 12/30 at 4:30 PM eastern with the following news:
    The IBM liaison team for Net Benefits has left for the holidays. Therefore, we have no documented data from them as to how reimbursements for Medicare Part B Premiums be handled between the SHAP and Extend Health HRA processes. We also have no documentation as to what documentation is required when submitting claims for Medicare Part B Premiums to Extend Health. Net Benefits management has entered my name on a list of persons that will be contacted directly by IBM. I have not been given a target date for that to occur. I will FUP daily with NB management and will escalate if I have not received communications from IBM in a timely manner.

  66. Roger Meggyesy says:

    Reimbursement for Medicare Part B Premiums

    I am going to cross-post this letter I received from the IBM Benefits group on to 2 other msg groups. I hope this clarifies this issue. I will also submit this letter to the IBM Support group at EH so that they can train their reps accordingly.


    Dear Mr. Meggyesy,

    This is in response to your email to Barbara Brickmeier regarding reimbursement for your Medicare Part B premium. I apologize for the delay in my response.

    The Medicare Part B premium you pay is an expense eligible for reimbursement from your Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). As you know, Medicare Part B premiums are also reimbursable expenses under the IBM Special Health Assistance Provision (SHAP). If you choose to be reimbursed for your Medicare Part B premium through your HRA, if there is any excess premium amount remaining that is not reimbursed from your HRA, you can submit the remaining amount under the SHAP. The question you reference on the claim form asks “Are you receiving coverage for Medicare Part B premiums from any other source?” If so, you must provide the amount. For the HRA, you would select “Other” as the source. This question is specific to Medicare Part B premiums, and not for medical expenses which are not considered premiums.

    The intent of the SHAP is to provide eligible retirees with assistance towards the premiums they pay for Medicare Part B coverage. You are not eligible to submit your Medicare Part B premium expense to the SHAP for the purpose of being reimbursed twice for the same expense for which you claim reimbursement from your HRA. In addition, please note that before submitting an expense for reimbursement from the HRA, you are required to certify on the HRA claim form that the expense has not been reimbursed from any other source, and will not be submitted for future reimbursement.

    If you wish to use the SHAP for reimbursement of your Medicare Part B premiums, you must submit your premium expense to SHAP first, then you can claim the amount of unreimbursed Medicare Part B premium from your HRA.

    With respect to your concern regarding use of the word “coverage” related to Medicare Part B premiums on the SHAP claim form, based on your input, we will consider clarifying this language on the claim form.

    I trust this answers your question. Thank you for writing.

    Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP
    Vice President Integrated Health Services

    • Kim Lansford says:

      I am just reading this response from Dr. Rhee and the part that doesn’t make sense is saying to get the HRA reimbursement first and then submit anything left to SHAP. The SHAP program doesn’t ask you how much your premiums were just which quarter(s) you are submitting them for. It only reimburses 80% as I understand and that is 80% of the basic premium. If you are paying more than the basic Med Part B premium due to income or penalty, that excess is never considered for reimbursement through the SHAP program.

      There needs to be a specific way for this to be handled for it to be done right. I won’t have the problem as my husband retired too late to be eligible for the HRA money but those of you who have both need to be sure this gets worked out correctly.

  67. You seems to think IBM gives a dam if you have medical insurance or not. Trust me they do not, and never did after the Watson’s left. You retirees are just a nuisance and if we wait long enough you will all be gone and all that money will be available for corporate bonuses.

    • To Mr. Phil Naccarato: Please excuse me for putting my 2 c3nts in…… (because deep down I really don’t care that much. But ………. From what I see about this mess (possibly a scam too) is that IBM/Extend health does give a damn about selling you health insurance… esp. Medicare.
      I f you could find out the dollar amount that companies receive for referrals / sign ups you would know that BM does care.

      The IBM/EH setup is a mess as many have stated on this site. I will do my best not to post again because what is being done by IBM/EH does upset me….
      Again: I proposed something similar to IBM in 2009 (To a Ms.Cain). It seems they took the idea and twisted it enough to make it a problem for exIBMers and enough that money can be made in the process..
      I made not need their (IBM) money but since I did work for it and earned it I therefore demand it…… even if I take it and give it away. It’s mine to give.
      In sunny PR……

  68. I am grateful to have worked for IBM for 34 years. Yes, at times the job was stressful but I felt I was paid well and had very good FREE healthcare until the last few years when we got to “contribute” to our healthcare benefits. Times change and so did IBM.

  69. Has anyone actually completed an enrollment with Delta Dental ? My application was submitted through Extend Health on November 3rd, and is still listed as “Application Submitted”. Delta Dental will not answer their phones for either Extend Health or myself to find out what’s happening.

  70. Humana and right source does not work at all. tAKES 3 WEEKS TO GET TOUR DRUGS MAILED TO YOUR HOME, IF THEN

  71. Lois Murray says:

    Two months in, paid in January for the full year for the vision plan still waiting for payment! Two payments in Delta Dental, no money back!!!!! Get different answer when I call but NO money!

  72. Oliver J. Shaw IBM 582758 says:

    As a retiree with 32 years of service I thought that I would be eligible for the HRA, I chose to go to Kaiser Permanente as it had the only 5 star medical program in Colorado and it fit my needs. I did try and go thru Extend Health but none of the programs really fit my needs. I am getting up in age and Kaiser offered transportation, free of charge, as part of their program for Srs. Initially, Extend Health reimbursed my expenses for Jan. 2014 but then in Feb they called and said I was ineligible for the HRA and that I had to return the reimbursement which I did. The notified me that the only way I can get the HRA is by getting a plan thru them. Dr. Rhee also notified me that I would not be eligible for the HRA unless I went thru Extend Health. What a shame that IBM will not support their retirees unless they use their exchange. Did anyone else have this problem.

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  74. William Harris says:

    Oliver J. Shaw… My wife and I are both IBM retired and we have KP of Colorado and also have our HRA. If you had KP before 2014 you should have received a letter letting you know that you could stay with KP, and you had to let ExtendHealth know that when you applied for your HSA. If you did not previously have KP then that may be another story.

  75. John Skaritza says:

    The delay for reimbursement of insurance payments is becoming longer and longer. I have called three times regarding release of my insurance payment. The last time I called I was told that it takes 10 days or longer for the insurance to file their claim to EH. EH then tells me that they can take up to 5 weeks to send it to you. None of these time elements were in any of their initial material sent to us, although they stated that it was, but could not show me where. It appears to me that these companies are given themselves an awfully long time to play with my money. Hmmm, I wonder what they do with it.! It certainly amounts to many millions of dollars they get in payments each month.. I am still waiting for my June 4, 2014 reimbursement. It is now July 21. I called them and they said that they mailed it June 23, 2014. I never received it. They told me they will cut another check, but it will take another 15 days to process. I don’t believe them. I’m thinking that maybe a report to my state’s SEC would provide me with some information on this situation.. Has anyone else experienced these kind of delays?

    • Roger Meggyesy says:

      I have not experienced the time delays that you describe. I initially set up my payments to direct deposit to my bank. I set up all recurring payments and that is now working fine as I see an direct deposit every month around the 2nd with the total for the recurring payments for that month. Just to be sure I log into my bank accounts and verify that the deposit was made. I had about a 2 week turn around for one time expenses. Presently my HRA balance will cover the recurring payments into November and then the HRA balance will be zero which is what I want. I realize that some folks do not trust direct deposit but we have had stolen mail problems lately so no matter which way you go there is risk involved in today’s society.

  76. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    I retired in 1990 and when IBM announced the change in Health Coverage, I signed up but found out that EH did not cover Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser is the only 5 STAR plan in Colorado. I chose to go with Kaiser as it best fit my needs and their costs was much lower than anything EH offered. Needless to say, I have been informed that after 32 years of service with IBM I am not qualified to receive the Health Reimbursement because I didn’t go with EH. EH also notifies me every 6 months that I am not qualified to receive any funds. We worked hard to make the company what it is today so that the current employees would have a great company to work for but they quickly forget the retirees. My emails to our CEO has gone unanswered. I guess 32 years has no meaning to IBM anymore….

    • Roger Meggyesy says:

      I went outside of EH, now One Exchange, for my medical coverage. This medical plan did not have Rx coverage. In order to get my HRA I went and enrolled in the Humana Wal-Mart Rx plan for $12.60/month and that qualified me to get my HRA. You have to obtain your medical plan or Rx plan through One exchange to be eligible to obtain your HRA. Enrolling in a dental or vision plan through One Exchange does not qualify you to get your HRA. See if you can do something like that to become eligible.

      • Oliver Shaw says:

        Roger, the Kaiser plan is complete including drugs, etc. Dr. Rhee told me to get the Drug plan but then when I did the Kaiser plan was dropped. You cannot have 2 plans per the Medicare rules. Needless to say, I was without any plans for about a month until I could get it corrected. When I notified IBM/EH about the problem, their only response was to drop Kaiser and get one of their plans. Kaiser costs $87 per person for the supplemental, all the ones from EH for equiv. coverage would be in the 200 to 300 range. Needless to say, I have stayed with Kaiser, excellent service, great follow up and great Drs.

        • Roger Meggyesy says:

          Yes I know about the Medicare rule regarding multiple drug plans. I had to search for a medical plan without Rx coverage so I could enroll in at least one plan with One Exchange to protect my $3500 HRA. This was not the most optimal solution, but after running the numbers it was still cost effective to go the route I did. Fortunately the medical plan that I have keeps the same doctors and other health facilities that I use and am very satisfied with.

    • Kim Lansford says:

      Oliver, I have read many of the comments here and remembered the comments about Kaiser. Today I was rereading a book sent by One Exchange with an IBM logo on the front for whatever good that might be and it says:

      The following individuals do not have to enroll in a medical or prescription drug plan through OneExchange in order to receive the HRA (if eligible):

      Since Kaiser Permanente health plans are not available through the OE Medicare Exch, if you are currently enrolled in a KP HMO through IBM, you can tontinue to enroll in a KP Plan. contact KP at 866 716 7311 from 8-8, seven days a week to discuss availability of plans and pricing and to enroll.

      I edited and abbreviated it a bit. If you want a scan of the page, email me at njohns0732 at sign sbcglobal.net

      Let me know if this works.

      • Hi Kim, yes, I know about that. I joined Kaiser at the end of 2013, actually in Oct, 2013, My coverage did not start until Jan 1, 2014. Because of that EH says I am not eligible, Dr. Rhee also said that I was not eligible because my coverage didn’t start in 2013. Splitting hairs… Oh Well, I am happy with Kaiser, the offer so much more than what EH offers. They did call me but they admitted that they are a brokerage for health companies and currently only have a few signed up. It does seem a little fishy when the organization that makes it’s money selling Medical Insurance is picked to administer the IBM HRA…

  77. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    Roger, since Kaiser has a complete plan which includes prescription coverage I cannot go to a 2nd source. Dr. Rhee, IBM Med officer, told me to do that and it resulted in my losing all my coverage. I was without coverage for about a month or so until I could get it straightened out. Medicare does not allow you to have 2 sources for any coverage. I notified Dr. Rhee and EH on this and their only comment was to drop Kaiser and go with them. Needless to say, I stayed with Kaiser. Kaiser costs for me are only $87 per month per person. EH costs for equiv. is over $200 per month per person.

  78. john skaritza says:

    Since IBM is no longer involved in the retirement medical insurance business as they stated, does this mean that they will not be negotiating with insurance carriers for 2015 policies? Will that process also be conducted by Extend Health/Watson? Since IBM has now limited their contribution to each retiree will they continue to decrease their contribution while at the same time insurance prices are rising?

    • Oliver Shaw says:

      John, you are starting to hit the nail on the head. One has to wonder what has happened to our company. IBM is starting to go down the path of many other companies where it doesn’t honor it’s commitments to those that worked to make it the top company in the world. My decision to not go with Extended Health, I am with Kaiser, would not have cost IBM any more if they gave me the HRA reimbursement but they said that I had to go with EH to get it. WHY???

  79. Oliver J. Shawl says:

    Well, I sent an email to Ms Gherson, VP for human services. I explained my frustration at the whole EH debacle and asked for an explanation as to why IBM made the decision to only go by the EH policies. Should be interesting to see if she responds….

  80. Oliver J Shaw says:

    Well, the email was sent on Sunday, Aug 10. still no response.

  81. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    Well, I did get a response. Ms. D. Gherson, VP Human services, IBM, forwarded my email to EH. Got a call from them and they have set up a phone meeting with me to understand my concerns. My guess is that when it is over, they will tell me AGAIN that I am not eligible. Remember, this after 32 years of service with IBM……Should be interesting.

  82. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    Well, meeting over with EH and they once again confirmed that under their guidelines from IBM I will not be eligible for the HRA unless I change my coverage. They admit that they are a medical brokerage and they are also administrating the HRA for IBM, sounds a lot like conflict of interest. You need to go thru them to get the HRA….

    • Kim Lansford says:

      On my previous post to your note above, we received the OE booklet 6/6/2014. Of course IBM can always say if they didn’t say it themselves, it is not true but at some point there needs to be some accountability.

      The section exempting KP folks from OE also includes exemptions for US Veterans with TRICARE for Life and if you live outside the US you need to call them, sounds like another exemption to the must enroll through OE.

  83. Will the doctor performing blind dissection be able to adequately account for this variability in the average patient and will he risk operating on an unwary patient in whom these differences
    might be profound. Eventually this can cause hair thinning
    or patches of bald spots. Your hair protected the top of the head from the elements.

  84. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    Just got off the phone with Dr. Rhee. It was a very constructive conversation and he is very interested in hearing from any retiree on concerns/problems with EH or the HRA. He is looking for constructive ideas on how improve the retiree experience with EH and the HRA. I plan on writing to him and suggesting that we, IBM Retirees, be given an option to go to another plan that offers a 5 STAR coverage without being penalized because we didn’t use EH because they (EH) did not have a plan that fit our needs. It is time for all of us to write to Dr. Kyu Rhee ( [email protected]) and copy Ms. Diane Gherson ([email protected]) and voice your concerns and provide him with alternative options that would fit your needs. He looks forward to hearing from all of you. If you don’t voice your concerns to him then you will have to live with what ever options are given. Thanks for listening.

  85. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    The following is an analysis of the IBM/EH HRA program. This would also cover any plan that Extended Health doesn’t cover…

    1- Prior to 2014, approximately 82% of all IBM retirees where covered under the IBM Group plan. The other 18% were using other medical plans such as Tri Care for Life, spouse’s coverage, etc.
    2- Effective January 1, 2014 the IBM Group plan would cease to exist and a new plan providing the Retirees with an HRA would be instated. I would assume that funding for the HRA would be based on the current number of retirees (82%) covered under the IBM Group plan.
    3-IBM, using Extended Health (EH) as their agent, would have EH administer the HRA.
    4-It was decided that as long as the retiree went through the EH exchange for either their medical or drug coverage then the retiree would be eligible to receive the HRA.
    5-If any of the 82% of the retirees decided to use another plan (ie. my choice of Kaiser Permanente) that was not represented by EH then the retiree would not be eligible for the HRA.

    In my dealings with EH on this matter, I was informed that since Kaiser was not a client of EH then my coverage through Kaiser would not qualify me for the HRA. I was further informed that if EH could get Kaiser to become a client then I would be covered. Now this does not really make sense to me. If Kaiser becomes a client of EH then they, Kaiser, would have to raise their rates to cover the additional cost, this increase would be passed on to the Kaiser clients. I was also informed that unless something changes, I would not be eligible for the HRA in 2015 as well.

    It seems that IBM did not take into account that this would put an added burden on the retirees. By using the Kaiser exchange I get the 5 Star coverage at a reasonable cost but if EH convinces Kaiser that they should become their agent then my costs would go up for the same coverage. Surely IBM would want their retirees to get the best possible coverage at the least cost to them.

    Since IBM should have allocated funds for the HRA based on the number of retirees (82%) on the old Group plan then the funds would have been available to cover the small number of retirees that chose to go with another plan. I would estimate that this number would probably be about 3 to 7 % of the 82 % that were covered under the old Group plan.

  86. Mariana Weis says:

    Well, here is it on the edge of September . And the Dreaded ENROLLMENT time is coming up.
    Last year was so painful I hate to repeat it.
    I do WONDER HOW MUCH MONEY IBM IS SPENDING TO SPONSOR THE US OPEN TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR. And I wonder how many surviving spouses could have received their full subsidy for that amount of $$
    But the worst was finding out that since I had the great misfortune to lose my beloved husband that IBM had decided that I would also lose 66% of the promised $3500 subsidy for Medical coverage. Yes, as a surviving widow I only received 33% of the $3500 that had always been promised.
    I spoke personally with Dr. Rhee and he said it was unfair that I received anything. After all I wasn’t the retiree. Besides other things I reminded him that before retirement and Medicare my husband and I ,as a couple , paid the same rates as a family with 2,4,6 or more children. And I never complained that was unfair. After all we were all IBM family.
    And I am not be the retiree, but I was the one that was at home on all those days that John worked 20 hrs. or more. and I was the one holding down the fort when John was gone 6 weeks at a time.
    I was the one that hitch-hiked to the hospital to have the first child because IBM had sent John out of town. I was the one that encouraged him to stay with IBM when he was offered different jobs ,by different companies, because IBM was “family”
    I realize this all sounds like whine from an old woman. But we as a couple endured a lot of IBM demands. and We lived up to every expectation that had .And My husband did so with honesty and integrity and commitment.
    Even after he was laid off(after 28 1/2 yrs) he was asked to train his replacement!!. I said no he said yes. The gentleman came and because of where we lived and no hotels very close he lived at out house for 6 weeks. I cooked for him did his laundry and he and John worked many hrs. aday to get him up to speed to take over John’s position. Johns manager had drawn up a contract and everyone signed it . After the gentleman finished and went home we submitted the bill for John’s time… And IBM sent us a letter DENYING payment. They said the manger wasn’t authorized to make the contract. And besides John was on unpaid leave until retirement and therefore not eligible to be paid by IBM for anything.
    Also during this unpaid leave the termination rules said John could not take another job with out IBM’s approval. So we had to pass up on 4 different offers because IBM said no. Later I found out they can’t do that . But we were rule followers.
    Also just weeks before the official retirement date we were informed that the rules covering our pension were changed. Instead of the highest 5 years of salary being used to determine pension, the LAST 5 years were going to be used. And of course because of the lay off, that meant 1 and 1/2 yrs. of $0 were used to figure the pension.
    So we lost a lot of pension and then last year I lost 66% of medical subsidy. So I fear this year they will just eliminate the subsidy for surviving spouses all together. Especially because last year they made retirees sign papers as to how much their spouses would be eligible for. And I received NO paperwork as to my subsidy continuing at the reduced rate.
    Thank you to anyone that took their precious time to read this rant .The anniversary day of my husbands passing is approaching as is the enrollment process and I guess I just lost it here for a bit.
    So I guess we all must just sit and wait to see that they will pouring on us this year.
    Last year I choose a Medicare supplement that EH didn’t offer, and there fore had to choose a RX. plan that they did. I am so glad I chose the supplement that I did. I had several occasions to use it and being able to go to the hospital of my chose and having all the Dr.s that cared for me covered with out the encumbrance of an advantage plan, saved me several $1000.This plan was not offered by EH. Why IBM paid EH $$$ to be the “official Medicare insurance agency of IBM” I will never know.
    Maybe they like “The Official Sponsorship” title so much as shown in” IBM OFFICAL SPONSOR OF THE US OPEN ”
    Again thanks for your time, that you will never get back. I pray for and love all my IBM retirees every day. I truly do , some are my neighbors.

  87. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    Mariana, I understand where you are coming from. I, as a manager at IBM in the 1980 t0 1990 time frame always looked at all the people that worked for me as family and that included the spouse. I do wish you the best and I hope that IBM will finally wake up and realize that all of us, retirees, were the ones that made the company what it is today. The current administration did not go thru the trials and tribulations that we went thru and are reaping the benefits of our labors. Please know that the community of retirees are with you and I personally will be saying a prayer for you. Thanks for being there for your husband as my wife was there for me during our time at IBM.

  88. Has anyone received any information from IBM &/or Extend Health (Watson Towers) regarding the enrollment process for 2015? I haven’t received any materials in the mail or by email for either of them. Also, I haven’t been able to find any information on the IBM (Net Benefits) or Extend Health web sites …. no postings of notifications of process required to enroll …. or …. plan offerings for my zip code/area for 2015. I called Extend Health and asked if/when information would be available but the customer service person couldn’t find any mention of it in her script.

  89. Has anyone received any information from IBM &/or Extend Health (Watson Towers) regarding the enrollment process for 2015? I haven’t received any materials in the mail or by email for either of them. Also, I haven’t been able to find any information on the IBM (Net Benefits) or Extend Health web sites …. no postings of notifications of process required to enroll …. or …. plan offerings for my zip code/area for 2015. I called Extend Health and asked if/when information would be available but the customer service person couldn’t find any mention of it in her script.

  90. last year I believe it was the end of October early November before they release. Information. They are not very forthcoming they won’t be very forthcoming with the information they give you a very short time very close to only the Medicare open enrollment. In fact I think last year it was less time than the Medicare open enrollment.I have no hope that this year’s enrollment will be better than last years. I believe it’ll be more limited plans more restrictions and extend health will offer less plans in each code.
    and because I haven’t talked to a lot of my family and friends in the medical field extend health is not a preferred agency. Please remember extend health is only another insurance exchange.last year they offered many less plans than most available in the zip code and I anticipate that will be with this year
    most health care providers that I have been in touch with and that’s many are not happy with extend health. And the insurance company since selves found no real advantage in working through extend health Tower Watson. So I anticipate a lot of anguish, hardship borne by we retirees. And especially white widows of retirees because I BM has cut our subsidy by 66 Pursat. They sent to a lot of retirees a letter that had to be signed and notarized that they would accept the reduced amount should they pass away and their wives with the surviving spouse.. As a surviving spouse they sent me no such a letter so I expect my sub city to go down from 1 third of what the retiredees was to about 15 of what the retirees was.this is not information I got from IBM this is just my feelings about how things have been handled and what doctors and hospitals tell me.

    • Oliver J Shaw says:

      Hello Mariana, IBM has gone from a employee friendly company to not seeming to care about the retirees. I understand your frustration, IBM has deemed that I am not qualified to receive the HRA, and this is after 32 years. All because I did not like what EH offered and I went to Kaiser, a much better selection. EH is holding me and other retirees hostage in a way. They will cover me if I quit Kaiser or if they can get Kaiser to use them as their representative. I explained that to Dr. Rhee and copied the VP of Human Services. Only thing I got back from IBM was silence.. Makes you wonder…

  91. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    Carol, if you are currently enrolled you should be getting a notification that you have until Nov to make any changes/additions. As for me, after 32 years at IBM I have been classified as “Unqualified” with NO help from IBM. If you still have questions, contact Dr. Rhee (IBM Medical Director) at (EMAIL– [email protected] He should be able to get you the information.

  92. mariana Weis says:

    First of all. Let me apologize. I just reread my last post and there is a phrase that says “And especially white widows of retirees “. I MEANT NO SUCH THING… I meant “WE widows”
    So I received information form my RX company today that I purchased from EH last year as required to receive my subsidy. That plan “WellCare” is only raising their cost per month $5. no big deal. BUT of course my Long time generic drugs are going from tier 1 no copay to TIER 2…$8/per Rx. copay. So my cost will actually go up 4x$8=$32X12=$382+$60 increase in monthly cost=$442. or total cost of $1092/yr. Last year total cost was $660. That is huge for me.
    ON their website EH shows NO RX. plans in my area. So how am I going to be eligible for my subsidy if I have no plans to choose from . I can’t purchase my supplement from them if they offer it, because of the “Agent of record Rule”. So If I can’t buy Medigap from them and can’t buy Rx. from them and NO advantage plans in my area show on their website either.
    It is impossible for me to be eligible for my REDEUCED BY 66% subsidy.
    And IBM waits so long to send us information in relation to the open enrollment time….I knew IBM was finding a way to eliminate as many of us as possible as quickly as possible….
    Thanks for listening to the rant…….I have tried to contact Dr. Rhee with no success.

    • Oliver J. Shaw says:

      Mariana Weis, I have a phone appointment with Dr. Rhee today in about 2 hours, I will forward your concern to him at that time…

    • Roger Meggyesy says:

      I am a bit confused reading your last post. I have been deeply involved with our healthcare options since last September. I have managed to help many over 65 retirees with their issues with One Exchange. the name EH is long gone.
      If you email me your phone number I will be more than happy to call you on my nickel as I have unlimited long distance. I have contacts within IBM HQ that I have used to help other retirees with their issues. But first we need to clearly know the details before i bring them into the equation.
      I am very familiar with Agent of Record and there are ways around that limitation.
      I gave up on Dr. Rhee for solving complex problems back in October 2013 as all we ever received was some boiler plate answers.

      Roger Meggyesy

      • Oliver J Shaw says:

        Hi Roger, Jim Shaw is my name and I am an IBM retiree, 32 years service. Currently live in Colorado. I agree with you on Dr. Rhee, He has not been very helpful. My problem is simple, I reviewed all of One Exchanges (1E) option and found that they did not meet my needs. I retired in 1990 and I was on the group plan until 2014. I decided to go with Kaiser Permanente as this was the only 5 Star plan offered in Colorado. 1 E could not offer me a plan that was as good as Kaiser. Initially I was given the HRA for my costs but in Feb. 1E said I did not qualify and had to return the money, which I did. If you have read my posts you will see that I tried to get IBM and 1E to understand what was going on but boiler plate answer was “Drop Kaiser and go with one of their plans or if they can get Kaiser to hire them as an agent then they would reinstate the HRA. ” Obviously, Kaiser will not go with them since they have a very efficient system and did not want to put a middle man in the loop. Since 2014 is coming to a close, I went on 1E to see if They had fixed the problem but to no avail, I am still listed as “NOT QUALIFIED” to receive the HRA in 2015. One would think that IBM would understand that 1E does not have the best interest of the retiree. Don’t know if you can help but maybe if some one in HQ may understand the problem and make exceptions for those of us that went another way since 1E did not have a quality plan to offer us…. Thanks

    • Roger Meggyesy says:

      Please see my reply to Carol regarding enrollment info for 2015. I also went into my account and there are no Rx plans or Medicare Advantage plans showing at this time. They will start appearing on Oct 1st and all plans should be available by Oct 15th per One Exchange/IBM support group.

  93. William Harris says:

    RE: IBM, Kaiser and the HRA.
    I have commented on this before and maybe it didn’t get through. Kaiser was a plan that IBM offered in the past before the new plans came into effect in 2014 under Extend Health. IF you had Kaiser under the old IBM plans you could keep your Kaiser plan in 2014 and still be eligible for your HRA. All one had to do was inform EH that you were keeping your Kaiser plan. My wife and I (both IBM retired) had Kaiser before and we chose to keep Kaiser and we both have our HRAs. IF you were not on a Kaiser plan prior to 2014, of course you could not sign up with Kaiser in 2014 and qualify for the HRA as it was not an offered plan with EH. IBM sent out a letter plainly stating this in 2013, it is pretty clear at how you could be under a Kaiser plan and be eligible for the HRA.

    Bill H.

    • Oliver J. Shaw says:

      Bill, I understand that. I attempted to join Kaiser when I heard that IBM was dropping the group plan. I was officially enrolled at Kaiser in October of 2013 but it would not be in effect until Jan. 1 of 2014 due to the group plan running through the end of the year. I went to EH now called One Exchange (1E) and explained that to them and to Dr. Rhee. 1E did not offer a plan that was as good as Kaiser (Kaiser is the ONLY 5 Star medical plan in Colorado). Since IBM funded the HRA based on the number of people who were covered under the Group plan (Approx. 82% OF retirees were on the group plan per Dr. Rhee) it seemed logical that they would extend the courtesy for the few of us that chose to go to Kaiser or another plan that was better than what 1E offered. It would not make a difference in the funding. What I was told by 1E and Dr. Rhee was that if I left Kaiser and went with a lesser plan offered by 1E I would receive the HRA. 1E also stated that if they could get Kaiser to hire them as their agent then Kaiser would be one of the funded plans. I still think IBM could have made exceptions for the very few of us that chose Kaiser over the lesser plans that 1E offered. Oh well, this is my cross to bear. I will stay with Kaiser even if I don’t get the HRA. My 32 years at IBM does not count in the final tally…

    • Oliver J. Shaw says:

      Bill H. it is interesting to note that IBM does not offer any plans in 2014 and beyond, rather they have hired One Exchange (1E) to offer plans. If 1E does not offer the plan, except those grandfathered in by IBM, then as an IBM retiree, you do not get the HRA. In my opinion, IBM has abdicated it’s responsibility to the retiree and has chosen 1E and washed it’s hands of any responsibility. It would have been simple, since they funded the HRA based on the number of retirees who were on the group plan (Approx. 82%) to have told 1E to ensure that all retirees get the HRA who was on the Group Plan in 2013.

  94. Roger Meggyesy says:

    This is a follow-up to my post on 9/26/2014 regarding 2015 Enrollment Information from OneExchanbge.
    Roger’s Questions sent to OneExchange/IBM Support
    I appreciate your timely information. However, I have the following questions. For 2015 I do not plan to make any changes to my medical and Rx plans obtained through One Exchange. I received a letter from Humana stating that I would not have to do anything if I wanted to keep my existing plans for 2015. If I just let my policies renew and don’t do anything, what will happen to my HRA? Will the insurance company notify One Exchange and will One Exchange notify me that my HRA is all set up for 2015. Or do I still have to make an appointment to call One Exchange to discuss this? I see no documentation anywhere that discusses this at all.
    Thank you
    Roger Meggyesy

    OneExchange/IBM Support Answer to me on 10/01.
    Mr. Meggyesy,

    If you like your plan, no action is needed to stay in that plan going forward. You may want to watch for mailings from your insurance carrier for notifications of changes to your premium and plan benefits for 2015. If your plan will not be available next year that notification will come from the insurance carrier. Sounds like Humana has send you correspondence already regarding 2015.

    Your HRA will continue for 2015 as long as you remain enrolled in a Medical and/or Prescription Drug plan through OneExchange. I.E. your Humana Prescription Drug plan. Come 2015 you can start to submit reimbursement claims for your 2015 expenses.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

    Angie B.

    NOTE to ALL: I will work with OneExchange to put a full explanation of this process for 2015 on their OneExchange/IBM web site Home page as I can’t find this documented anywhere. More to Come.

    Roger aka Attila

  95. Roger Meggyesy says:

    Update as of 10/01. I went to the OneExchage/IBM Web site home page and clicked on Shop & Compare. There are now, in my zip code, 15 Medigap plans, 16 Rx plans and 11 Medicare Advantage plans where there were none. It looks like OneExchange is loading the data as they stated they would starting the 1st.


  96. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    I have a concern. Where is IBM and One Exchange is this blog. I find it hard to believe that only IBM retirees are getting the information and passing it on to all. This information that Roger Meggyesy is putting out should have been put out to all the retirees by either IBM or One Exchange or both. Get on the band wagon One Exchange and do your job and get all the information out to the IBM retirees.. PS, I know that IBM and One Exchange is reading the blogs on this site…

    • Tom Dillon says:

      FYI – I called OneExchange to inquire why I had not received ANY information regarding the enrollment period for 2015 plans. They informed me that they sent the info via email but that my profile indicated I did not want to be contacted by email. I did not recall ever making such a request when I first signed up with EH last year and found no place on their website to change my profile. I also suggested that if one does make such an election for “no email”, they should have an alternative method, e.g. snail mail, to get this important info to retirees. As a result of not being informed in advance, the earliest date I could get for a telephone appointment to discuss plan changes for next year was Dec, 4, just 3 days prior to the close of enrollments! I did receive plan change information from my carrier for this year which noted a change from $0/mo. to $90/mo. for my Medicare Advantage plan from Aetna. So it’s back to Shop and Compare on the OE website to review other plans and costs available in my area.

  97. Oliver J. Shaw says:

    Well, IBM and One Exchange still considers me ineligible for the HRA. The reason is that I chose Kaiser Permanente over what One Exchange offered. One of the reasons I chose Kaiser is their concern and actions for their clients. Example, All the Kaiser clients were notified about what Kaiser is doing for the Ebola Crisis. We were sent a very comprehensive letter of their actions and preparedness and what we should do in case of a crisis or symptoms. I wonder how many of the medical plans and IBM/One Exchange has done the same thing. The pro active actions of Kaiser is one of the reasons I will continue to stay with them in spite of IBM/One Exchanges refusal to provide me with the HRA. PS, 32 years with IBM..

  98. Oliver J Shaw says:

    To all my IBM Brothers and Sisters who have served this country. Thank you for your service and doing what is right so that all in the USA may live in peace. SEMPER FI

  99. Oliver J Shaw says:

    EBOLA Has anyone received and information from any of the medical ins. providers on what their plans are if there is a break out of Ebola? To my knowledge, Kaiser/Permanente is the only provider that has put together a plan and instructions to it’s members on what to do if there is a break out. With the 1500 US troops about to be rotated back to the US from the African region where they are helping to stem the Ebola outbreak there is a small possibility that there may be a small? breakout. IBM was supposed to put together a plan and notify the Retiree’s but I don’t think that has happened. I wrote to Dr. Rhee and asked him what IBM’s plans are. I have not seen any action yet. I believe that every retiree should write to Dr. Rhee and ask him if IBM is going to put together a plan…

  100. I love reading through a post that can make people think.
    Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment.

  101. This new system for Retired employees of IBM totaly sucks. THANKS TO THAT MORON IN THE WHITE HOUSE. It seems to take forever to obtain a reimbursement for medical expenses from Extend Health. I have been unable to contact them by phone or any other manner. IBM has been of no help. In the meantime, my overall annual cost has jumped to around $4,000.00 annually because of what Obahma care had done to the programs we use to have when IBM handeled it. Now my co-pays have increased dramatically (same insurance Company as before “Kaiser”. I have now elected to stop certain medications I am to be taking for my heart condition because the copay went from $20.00 to $100.00; Many of the tests I use to have was no copay and are now as much as $250.00 each time. Can not afford to be placed into the Hospital which is now $250.00 per day copay where it use to be only $250.00 to be admitted and the list goes on. As for Extend Health, I never know if they are going to honor my requests for re-imbursement from the annual fund that is to be allowed by IBM or not? I am currently waiting for approx. $1000.00 in rembursements that are over 30 days old. What the heck is going on. If IBM cares truly for their employees and retired employees who gave so many years to the company, then I would like to see IBM step up to the plate and show us they truly care. It is hard enough to get by from month to month being retired without the additional problems of getting reimbursed on a more timely manner.

    • Tom Dillon says:

      Robert – while I am not a fan of POTUS, I don’t think our health plans obtained thru Extend Health are part of Obamacare. We are part of what is called a private exchange, not Obamacare. Relative to reimbursement, I am receiving my reimbursement checks from EH approx. 2 weeks after the premium due date.

      • Oliver J. Shaw says:

        Tom, what Obama care did was raise the cost of all health plans. Prior to Obama Care, the cost of plans and expenses were reasonable and though high still affordable. With the advent of Obamacare, the costs for uninsured and additional costs were rolled into many health plans that cause an increase that has been passed on to many retirees as well as most others. As for reimbursements, 32 years and it doesn’t apply to me. IBM and OE has decided that I am not eligible because I chose to go outside of OE for my coverage which is a lot better than anything OE has to offer.

        • Oliver, I read what you did and it was a shame that you had to leave your HRA on the table as I understand your post. Initially in late 2013 when we had to make a decision, I went out on the open market and found another health exchange, eHealth, and got my Medical coverage through them. Then to protect my HRA of $3500, I went back to OE(Extend Health at the time) and signed up for the low cost, $12.60/mo Humana/Wal-Mart drug plan. So for a yearly premium of 151.20 I saved my 3500 HRA.
          I know that many retirees did the same thing. I realize that each retirees situation is different. Also, If you have a medical plan that includes Rx, then you can’t do another Rx plan with OE as that is a Medicare No No. I just put this out as a suggestion for others.
          Roger aka Attila the Hun

          • Oliver J. Shaw says:

            Hi Roger, yes it was a shame. When IBM announced that they were dropping our health care and going to the HRA, I went thru OE and looked at all their plans before going on the open market. The plan I choose, Kaiser, was superior to anything OE offered and so I signed with them in OCT of 2013, the problem was the actual date for starting was Jan 1, 2014 because the group plan I was on with IBM did not end until 12/31/2013 thus OE stated that I would not be qualified for the HRA. I talked to Dr. Rhee about this and after many phone calls he finally stated that IBM had signed up with OE to administer the HRA and that as a broker for medical plans this was how they were paid and did not have a contract with Kaiser. He also said that IBM was concerned that a number of retirees would reject OE and if IBM opened up the HRA to them the cost would be to high. This, after being told when I retired in 1990 after 32 years that I would be covered by IBM for my medical. I feel that IBM has not lived up to its commitment to the retirees. I also am somewhat surprised that IBM/OE does not follow these blogs, Dr. Rhee said he reads them?, and tries to reach out to the retirees as you have. Many of us are in our 80’s and do feel that IBM would just as soon dump us. Thanks for your concern… Though I do not have the HRA, I will stay with Kaiser as it best fits my lifestyle and needs.

    • Robert,
      You may have heard of me as I go by my alias, “Attila the Hun”. I have been helping IBM Retirees to navigate through the issues some retirees have with One Exchange regarding payments and other things. I have established some relationships in OE that I can reach out to and have them work with you on any unresolved issues. I need you to send me your email address and phone number and I will get back to you. My email address is rmeggy @ bellsouth.net. Remove spaces around the @ sign.
      Roger aka Attila the Hun.

  102. Dear Mr Cox. Is it possible for you to buy a local plan outside of Towers Watson that would afford you better coverage? If so why not do that? I’d really just want to hear why……….. Vernon
    I await your answer

    • Oliver J Shaw says:

      Vernon, Mr. Cox has the same problem as I do since Kaiser is an all inclusive plan and Medicare does not allow 2 entities to insure for the same coverage. His only option would be to leave Kaiser and then go outside to get coverage and go to OE for the Part D coverage, This would allow him to continue the HRA. He will find that the coverage under OE will cost more per month than Kaiser but if he has special needs in Drugs he may get a better deal there..

  103. I must just be lucky. I read so many war stories about Extend Health/One Exchange but my experiences with them have been smooth. It was a little “rough” getting my reimb forms submitted/approved last year but this year everything went smooth. Simply submitted the forms for MC Part B and Dental Ins reimb and they were processed and my reimb’s were deposited in my bank acct. My Eye Ins has the auto reimb feature and that too went smoothly. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am grateful for the HRA funds that IBM provides and I hope they continue to do this.

    • Victor,
      I see in your post that you submitted your reimbursement request for Medicare Part B. Two things here I want to discuss.
      1. If you Do Not qualify for SHAP/Acclaris $900 Part B premium assistance and you set up a recurring expense payment from your HRA for your monthly Part B premium of $104.90 that was the correct thing to do.
      2. Now if you DO qualify for the $900 from SHAP/Acclaris and you set up the recurring expense reimbursement from your HRA for the monthly Part B premium of $104.90, you just left $900 on the table. There was a package sent out from OE implying that the thing to do was step one above. On the back of the instructions was a note that said, If you DO qualify for the SHAP payment it was RECOMMENDED to do that first and then submit the balance of $358.80 to OE to be reimbursed from your HRA. Many retirees just filled out the front of the special form received from OE that was called: Recurring Medicare Part B Reimbursement Form” without reading the back and they now have the problem that I described in item 2 above.

      If you fall into category 2 you need to replace the word recommended, in the instructions, with the word “MUST”. I have posted this information on 3 IBM /Yahoo Msg boards in 2014 and 2015 along with this website and we now have many retirees working to back out of the recurring expense set-up for Medicare Part B so they can submit the SHAP form to Acclaris to get their $900.
      Victor, I used your post to get this information out once again, because as we speak, I am working with 2 retirees and a senior OE CSR to try to resolve this issue. I hope you fall under Item 1.

      If any retiree out there that has this problem please send me an email so I can help you.

      Roger aka Attila the Hun rmeggy @ bellsouth.net

  104. FYI only:
    “After receiving $2.5 billion in taxpayer dollars from the federal government, the vast majority of nonprofit insurance companies created under the Affordable Care Act recorded losses in revenue, an analysis by The Daily Signal found|”published by Daily Signal
    The Games they play………

    • Roger,

      Yes, I fall into your #1 category. Like most others, I was very frustrated last year with Ext Health when this initially rolled out. Much confusion and a little trouble getting MC Part B reimb for my wife set up. Also getting my recurring premiums for Dental Ins set up for reimb was not smooth.

      This year, however, I am happy to report that everything went very well. I simply submitted the proper forms with the correct info and verifications and my reimb’s are in place. Hope it is this easy next year!!

      Best regards and good luck to all with this process.


  105. Extend care is impossible to work with. I have spent hours on the phone with them attempting to get resolutions to forms and requests I have sent to them only to be moved from one person to another. Last year I elected to have my monthly premium automatically deposited. As of 2015 this stopped and after numerous phone calls I still have not received any reimbursements. Requests for reimbursements for medical care; hospital visits; ambulance and the likes have been rejected even though I always send copies of all the documentation I have received from the parties who provided the service. IBM has truly screwed everyone of us retirees when changing over to this plan from what we use to have. They need to re-evaluate their original promise and commitments to those of us who gave years of service to IBM and was committed to our service to them.

    • Roger Meggyesy says:

      If you would contact me directly I will try to get you some help to resolve your problems. I will need specific notes about what issues you are facing at this time. I have had very little difficulty getting requests paid by PayFlex, who is the contractor for One Exchange that handles claims and payments, so maybe I can offer you some tips in this area. My email is: rmeggy @ bellsouth.net

      Roger aka Attila the Hun

    • Roger Meggyesy says:

      I may be able to provide some help with your issues if you desire. Gather up any notes you have that will help us go over your specific problems and we can go on from there . I can also contact you by phone as I have unlimited LD calling or Please contact me directly by email. rmeggy @ bellsouth.net

      Roger aka Attila the Hun

  106. Roger Meggyesy says:

    As many of the retirees are aware, I am kind of the IBM Retiree ombudsman representing all retirees, 65 and older, working on issues due to the debacle transitioning to One Exchange from IBM health benefits.
    I may be able to provide some help with your issues if you desire. Gather up any notes you have that will help us go over your specific problems and we can go on from there. I can also contact you by phone as I have unlimited LD calling or Please contact me directly by email. rmeggy @ bellsouth.net

    Roger aka Attila the Hun

  107. William Harris says:

    Very disappointed with OneExchange and their reimbursement from my HRA. My wife is also IBM retired, when we submit receipts for prescriptions, if there are two prescriptions for $10 each, they deny one claiming it is a duplicate even though one is obviously a refill. My wife has spent hours on the phone attempting to file claims for 2014, but she can’t get anywhere with the service reps. Can’t believe the incompetence of the people they hire.

    • William,
      As many of the retirees are aware, I am kind of the IBM Retiree ombudsman representing all retirees, 65 and older, working on issues due to the debacle transitioning to One Exchange from IBM health benefits.
      I may be able to provide some help with your issues if you desire. Gather up any notes you have that will help us go over your specific problems and we can go on from there. I can also contact you by phone as I have unlimited LD calling or Please contact me directly by email. rmeggy @ bellsouth.net

      I have a process set up with the executives at One Exchange and Towers Watson where I can direct you to the email support group for IBM/One Exchange. We have used this successfully to resolve many retiree’s issues. By using the email method, you have an electronic paper trail as to who said what to whom and when did they say it. If that fails to provide you with a satisfactory answer, I would ask you to forward me the email string describing your problem. Now I have something to go to One Exchange with. I have the ear of the new One Exchange VP of Client Services, Exchange Solutions. We eliminated the last one. If we don’t get satisfaction at the One Exchange level I move on to my next contact at Towers Watson who is the Managing Director, Exchange Solutions who replaced the last managing director at TW after I sent a blistering blog to TW regarding the performance of One Exchange formerly Extend Health. I recently sent him an 11 page letter with issues at One Exchange along with over 20 screen prints of various problems, some over a year old.
      First I would like you to start the email conversation with this support group. Outline your problem to them and wait for the reply. If you don’t agree with what they came back to you with, tell them so and explain why the answer is not acceptable. When you do a reply, BCC me so I can get in the loop. Now to keep the HIPPA folks happy I can only get involved with a individual’s problem if you tell me it is OK to do do. If you choose not to involve me I can forward your issue that could not be resolved using the email support structure. Then you can work directly with the senior CSR to convey your issues to them.
      The email address below is where you need to start. Don’t waste a lot of time with these folks. Either they fix your issue with 1 or 2 tries or we can than start the escalation process.
      [email protected]

      Roger aka Attila the Hun

  108. wonderful submit, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this sector don’t realize this.
    You must continue your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

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    this webpage’s posts all the time along with a mug of

  110. Oliver J Shaw says:

    Well, I’m back after being kicked off this site last year. Don’t know why but what the heck it happens… Went through all the rigmarole that IBM requires to try and get on the HRA. Final appeal was refused. In case you don’t know why, I chose to go to Kaiser instead of through the One Exchange site because they did not have as good a program for Sr.’s as Kaiser did. IBM says if you choose to go outside of One Exchange then you are not eligible for the HRA. This after 32 years with the company. I guess they keep the money and use it for bonus’s for the management. I am still with Kaiser and the quality of service and benefits outweigh anything that One Exchange has to offer.

  111. Oliver J Shaw says:

    Just signed on and had a malicious Malware downloaded from this site. Becareful..

  112. I have yet to receive any info on 2016 Benefits for Retirees. How do I get this information that I need???


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