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Notification of Changes in Insurance
Feb 2, 2003

I am a contract employee and have medical and dental insurance through my company, or at least I did through the end of the year. Supposedly my company sent me out a package via regular mail informing me that they were changing insurance carriers effective 1-1-03 and that I had to select a new insurance company. I unfortunately never received any such package in the mail. A couple of days ago a co-worker was complaining about the "new insurance coverage" and when I questioned her I found about this mailing tht went out. I double-checked with my medical and dental insurance companies and found out that in fact I was no longer covered. The local office of my employer is communicating with the national office but so far is being told that since I didn't complete and return the information by December 6th, I cannot reapply until December of 2003. They said that their records showed that they had my correct home address and believed that a package went out to all employees and that was good enough for them. They refused to discuss the possibility that my package may not have made it to the mail or that it got lost in the mail. So, because they did not receive anything from me, they had assumed that I no longer wanted medical or dental coverage. My feeling is that there should have been a reminder sent out by the employer. Whether it be an email or something enclosed in the employees' paychecks....but some sort of reminder. what are my options here. Is what my employer doing legal or illegal? Can they refuse to let me sign up for the new insurance? If illegal, who can I contact? The state attoney general's office? or department of labor? or somewhere else? And would it have to be the state I am located in (New York) or the state which the national office is located in? Any assistance you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Since health insurance is so vital to your long term well-being, I suggest that you invest in a private attorney for this limited purpose: for a few hundred dollars at most (and probably less), the attorney can write a letter outlining your situation and requesting review of the decision to delay your re-application for insurance. If you have a legal dept. in your local AIDS service organization, you could probably obtain the benefit of having this letter written at no charge. Have the attorney send it directly to your employer. I'm betting that your employer will reconsider. The employer cannot prove that you received the notification, and they'd be wise to flex on their rules in this case. It's cheaper than hiring their own attorney.

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