Workplace discrimination?

I recently started a new job and before starting I was told to find myself an independent health insurance plan (with any and all coverage that I need) and that they would reimburse me 70% of the cost. I have never before had to apply for independent insurance (I have always been on corporate policies), so I did not realize what a hassle it would be. I was denied for all plans, and my only option was to take part in COBRA from my previous employer. (I confirmed that my new employer would allow me to be on COBRA before starting my new position). When I started working, they freaked out at the high cost of the COBRA plan ($630.82/ month), and immediately started shopping for a different plan for me. The picked a horrible high deductible plan that they made me apply for, but I was of course denied (thank goodness). Now that they realize that COBRA truly is my only option, they are telling me that they will not be paying me 70%, but only a maximum of $300 per month. I pointed out that I was told 70% when offered the job, and their argument is that at the time they did not know that I was diabetic or that my insurance would be so high. I don't see what that has to do with anything. Don't they have to offer the same percentage to me, as all other employees? They also claimed that they did not know the amount before I started working, which I do not believe is true because that information was requested, and I gave it to the recruiter with all of the other paperwork I had to fill that they received. And again, they told me to pick any plan that I need, and did not put a price cap on it. If I had another option I would have picked it, just to bring down my 30% cost! And in the state of CT there is a pre-existing health insurance, but you have to be without any health insurance for 6 months before you are eligible, so that won't work either. I would not have taken the job if I had known they would be covering less than 50%, I cannot afford $330 per month for healthcare, plus all co-pays. Is this discrimination? Can they do this? Are there laws protecting diabetics from situations like these? What do I do?? Please help.. I am so worried that I just screwed myself by leaving a job with an affordable, good-coverage, corporate health plan to come here now that their stories about what they will pay for are changing...

It sounds completely ridiculous to me that they would change their hiring agreement with you after the fact. I participate in recruiting for my company and I know that I cannot legally ask questions about a persons health or special needs. Then when they're hired I know they cannot be denied coverage through the company (larger company, so we don't do the indpenedent health care thing, but I know it cannot be denied from my own experience)

Did you sign any sort of contract with them upon hiring that stated their resposibilites as well as your own? If so, then it's legally binding and they cannot change it. Nor can they withdraw the job offer based on your medical history.

The "their argument is that at the time they did not know that I was diabetic or that my insurance would be so high" part is what worries me the most. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TELL THEM! Unless I just don't understand the situation.... they have zero rights to know any of your medical history. zilch, nada, none. Nor can they deny you the job based on it. They are legally obligated to treat you the same as any other employee. I would dig into the American's with Disabilites Act, in particular the Equal Employment Opportunity part.

This really fires me up!  I'm so sorry this is happening to you!

Stuff like this is going to happen as healthcare costs continue to get more expensive at the same time companies are worried about having to accomodate the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obama Care).  Employers are allowed to cap how much they will pay for healthcare benefits.  

BUT, did you sign an employment contract or is there an employee handbook or web page listing employee benefits that says the company will pay 70%?  If so, you can legally force their hand.  You may want to call the American Diabetes Assocation and speak with their attorneys.  The catch is that you're unlikely to keep your job or be well received if you threaten legal action.  

It's probably smarter to compromise if you want to keep your job.  

They're quibbling over about $1,700.  They only want to pay $3,600 a year or less and 70% of your COBRA is $5,298.88.  Could you ask them to cover and explain how much you appreciate this accomodation and how great of an employee you'll be because of their generosity, and also explain that you will look for a cheaper option in 2014 when the Affordable Care Act mandates insurance can no longer be denied to you for a pre-existing condition? Then be an indispensible employee in the next year, so they'll be willing to work with you even in the Affordable Care Act doesn't become reality or if it does but all insurance is crazy expensive after 2014.

You might also look for another job.  I would, just to be safe.  

I agree with Jenna and Rebeka. You should have never been denied and you have every legal right to demand the same as all other employees. I have never dealt with the "denial for pre-exsiting condition" I do not know how, lucky I guess. All of my employers have been great in the insurance part of my employment history. The ACA promises to eliminate that but I'm not so sure about that. Will have to wait and see what happens in 2014.

I'm pretty sure I would try to find another employment oppurtunity. Sound like even if you come to an agreement, it won't be favorable to you finantially. Best of luck to you. Hope it all works out for you.

That sounds totally illegal to me, but I am not an attorney.  Good luck!

What are people's thoughts on this?  A few years ago, we hired a new person at my (small) organization, and she has since taken over the hr role.  She changed our end of year review sheets last year, and it now includes a rating for attendance and punctuality.  At my performance review this year (I report to the president, the same person that she does), he said that "people" were concerned about my health.  We also have started a "wellness" plan.  

I am overweight/obese and have been really working hard on lowering my A1C over the last 6 months and it has resulted in more lows, of course.  

Am I justified in feeling paranoid about this?  I kind of feel like writing a white paper on how Type 1 is not Type 2, and that even though we should all focus on wellness, it is not the same for all of us.

Lows happen but if they happen at work it will affect your reputation.  While you're prone to lows test often to catch them and make sure you have the food you need to treat them without making a big deal of it.

Wellness plans are pretty common these days.  They make sense on paper, however it's difficult to change human behavior.  I don't thnk worrying about it will help you.  

Focus on making the health changes you need to make and in strong job performance at work.  

That is absolutely discrimination. Try to find a local diabetes advocate (look them up on the American Diabetes Association website) or a good lawyer.

Hi xxseggyxx,

I contacted the JDRF and they sent along some helpful links for you to check out. Please let me know if you need anything else!!

-          The New York Times published an article about T1D in the workplace a few years ago, and the info is still pertinent.
-          The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has questions and answers about diabetes in the workplace
-          The ADA has a comprehensive page on  employment discrimination that was recently updated.
-          A recent Diabetes Mine entry by Allison Blass entry addresses Diabetes and Discrimination in the Workplace.  Allison interviews Kriss Halpern, known as the “Diabetes Attorney” who discusses workplace issues, such as health insurance coverage.  Kriss’s site provides detailed information on employment and insurance.  Kriss also who shares recommendations on dealing with discrimination at work, as well as others, and health insurance coverage on the TCOYD site.

Discrimination is always the concern, it was so bad at one time, I wouldn't even mention I had diabetes. There are those that disagree with that, but you do what you need to, keep working while you can. Now being disabled for so long, it is not an issue, and that is a small comfort.

Woa. Pretty spiffy. I'll have to check that out.

I would definitely try it but its 5.99!

You can buy it a shoppers drug mart.  I bought it for my infant son when he was low beacuse it was difficult to get him to eat or drink anything.  It is pretty much sugar syrup in a bottle but once they put the word diabetes on it, they increase the price.  It was also hard to measure the amount of spray .  It works alright but honey works way better for me.