A friend called the IBM Service Center about the enrollment requirements to gain access to the HRA. The first representative got it wrong and said retirees had to buy all their insurance policies through Extend Health. She wisely called back and the second representative told her that was wrong. I suggest the "call 3 times" process when you are asking an important question. If you get the same answer from 3 different agents there is a good chance it is correct.
It's easy to understand why the Service Center staff would give wrong answers. There have been rule changes upon rule changes. In addition, none of the changes have been officially communicated so it is no wonder no one knows anymore what the requirements are for HRA subsidy access.
The more people write emails to Dr. Rhee and/or Extend Health to complain about this whole process the less Dr. Rhee will be able to claim the program is a success. It won't stop the transistion but it might rattle some cages.