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Insurance questions - anyone able to share their knowledge?

julia12756
Posts: 22
Joined: Jan 2012

I never used to ask questions for fear of someone thinking I wasn't very smart. But now, after my cancer diagnosis... I've decided I'm always going to ask questions from now on and never assume I know the answer.. so here goes:

My FMLA will be over at the end of February and my HR person (who is kind of a jerk) has informed me that the company could legally fire me or reassign me when my FMLA is over. My family is on my insurance and not my husband's since mine was better. But if I get let go... would I be able to go on my husband's insurance? Or does my cancer now mean I have a non-covered preexisting condition? Or is it covered since I have had continuous coverage? Sorry I have never had to think about insurance and how this all works.

And I wanted to ask about any kind of supplemental insurance. I know... I know... who would insure us now?? But I have to ask, just in case... is there anyone who knows of any supplemental insurance that we can look into. I'm most concerned with long term care since my cancer is considered very aggressive and may return often.

Thank you all for any help you can give,

Julia

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

"he company could legally fire me or reassign me when my FMLA is over." Nice company!! Well I guess it's good to have all the info.

I went on FMLA. My understanding about this is that the company has to keep a position for the employee (not necessarily the same one they had). Regarding letting someone go: I think you should refer to your employee handbook. Florida is a "right to work" state and can fire someone without cause so check this out too. My company did fire someone after returning from FMLA - I thought it was a pretty low blow!!

I resigned rather than return to my job because of health issues (I had recurrence and applied for and was approved for SS Disability). Companies have to offer COBRA. Rather than do this, I asked my husband's employer if I could get on his policy and they said yes, that my leaving my job was qualifying event. Like you, I had pre-existing condition and this was not a problem at all. My employer had to provide some paperwork to my husband's verifying the situation. Being added to his policy was significantly cheaper for me than COBRA.

Please don't panic. Check out all the options and figure out which is best. I would definitely check out that comment from your HR department!!

Good luck with all this. Mary Ann

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

I've been employed by big corps for many years and when I was diagnosed 3 years ago self-employed as was my hubbie. Therefore, we both have our own "individual" policies.

As Mary Ann mentioned, whether you're let go or you leave, they must offer COBRA (assuming the company has more then 12-20 employees, as under this number employers are not required to offer COBRA?). There are some instances that I might not be aware of, but worth asking HR. Yes it will be quite expensive depending on what you signed up for but remember it's GROUP coverage and they cover "PRE-EXISTING" health issues.

Next option would be to go under your husbands' policy at his place of work. What Ive found many do accept when circumstances change, such as sickness, birth, divorce, etc. Also, this should be GROUP coverage and handle the pre-existing.

When you go out on your own, not under any large corp coverage plan, you'll be in a position my hubbie and I are in -- INDIVIDUAL PLANS. Note, these DO NOT cover pre-existing. They will just decline you altogether or put the cancer diagnosis as a rider and not cover for a certain period of time. Fortunately, prior to my diagnosis I was on one of these plans as it does cover my health bills, but I'm stuck as no INDIVIDUAL coverage will handle me now with pre-existing.

Last option, each state offers health insurance under a STATE POOL. They are probably as expensive as COBRA and yes do cover pre-existing. I have a friend who had cancer some years ago and hubbie lost his job. They used his companies COBRA for 18 month and at end of 18 months, moved coverage to the STATE POOL. Not sure where you go for this, but happy to ask if you need more information. There are certain qualifications to get on this pool, such as you were declined insurance under an individual plan, etc.

Lots to think about, but best to start working on this sooner vs. later. If you get caught without insurance, it could put you under financially. You need to find what fits best for you and your family...

Hugs and best of luck,
Jan

julia12756
Posts: 22
Joined: Jan 2012

Thanks for the great info - gives me a lot to think about! I am going to try and go back to work during chemo. I was talking to a woman I know at work who went back during her chemo (she had breast cancer) and they were not total jerks about her needing a day off or so between doses.

Thanks again for the excellent info!

Julia

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Many of us worked full-time during chemo. I didn't even consider taking time off until my nurse somewhere along the road told me that most of their patients DON'T work during treatment!! I remember mentioning to my doc that I was still working and he said "great!". They definitely didn't baby me.

I did, however take 2 days off every 2 weeks. I got infusion on Thursdays so I took Thurs and Fri off that week and went back to work on Monday. I handled chemo well and it worked OK for me since I did not work in high traffic area. Check with your doc or nurse about precautions during chemo.

With FMLA, you have choice of taking all at once or INTERMITTENT - I chose intermittent. and my nurse and doctor helped facilitate proper paperwork. This will allow you to take needed FMLA breaks (each year you are allowed a certain number of total days) and your company should not be able to make things hard for you.

Good luck. Mary Ann

julia12756
Posts: 22
Joined: Jan 2012

Thanks for all the info! Lots to look into and thank you Mary Ann for telling me about the Intermittent FMLA as it seems I will have to do that since the chemo my doc is recommending will be inpatient. I'll post something separate about that since I wondered what opinions out there were.

Julia

soxgirl823
Posts: 8
Joined: Oct 2011

my company will cover someone if the have a life altering event. Like loss of job, birth divorce etc. Companies that fire employees for that should be ashamed of themselves. I am very thankful every day that the company i work for family comes first. I have to use most of my sick and vacation time to take my mom to appoints as her cancer has returned. Good luck!! The worst part about FMLA is that they have to save a job for you doesnt have to be your position.

maryv1119
Posts: 37
Joined: Jun 2011

Julia, as others have stated. Yes your company can probably fire you. They must offer cobra (really expensive), but since your husband has medical insurance you and the kids can sign up under him. If you are fired, that is a "qualifying event" and you can sign up for insurance immediately under him. You will receive a letter of credible coverage from your old insurance plan. As soon as you receive this - fax a copy to the new insurance plan and they won't be able to list your cancer as a pre-existing condition.

soromer
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

About the "pre-existing condition" exclusion not being permissible now, when one has had coverage under another policy? My understanding is that this is now true for minors--that is, that there is no exclusion for pre-existing conditions--but not for adults until 2014. I'd love to learn otherwise, because that might save me a lot of money next year.
Thanks!

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Soromer,

Pre-existing was effecivet some time last year for kids...correct. For adults the health plan covering adults pre-existing won't be effective until 2014...you're correct! I'm really not holding my breath on that part as wow will it really cost the insurance co's big bucks, therefore, until that happens know you're pre-existing are noticed with ins co's.

I'm self-employed and am stuck where I am as what co. would cover me under "independent" policy....NONE? Rates keep on going up, up and away!!!

Jan

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