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Using health insurance with new company
Jun 9, 2001

I went on a leave of absence from a big company that found out my status and really gave me a hard time. As illegal as it was we all know its a dog eat dog world. My question that I am with a different (Smaller Company) with less than 500 employees...should I use my insurance or will they to find out my status leaving me to go through all the issues again?


Response from Ms. Breuer

Everything depends on how your company handles insurance claims. I recommend that you call your insurance company directly and ask about the procedure. Ideally, claims go to the insurance company or a third-party administrator, not to a clerk in the HR department, and your employer receives only summary reports about usage. If that's true in your case, go ahead and use the insurance.

If claims go directly to a clerk in HR, make an appointment with the director of HR to express your concern about the risk to confidentiality that this poses. Then write up a memo summarizing what is said in the meeting and send it to the HR director, keeping a copy for yourself. In the memo, suggest that, to be in compliance with the requirements of confidentiality of medical information and privacy, they would be well-advised to switch to a third-party administrator for their claims.

After that, when you use the insurance, you will have politely, quietly given notice that you're prepared to respond to any discrimination resulting from your use of the health insurance. If you need more information about how to make your way through this minefield, meet once with an anti-discrimination attorney. You can find one through your local AIDS service center, or through the American Bar Association's AIDS Coordination Project at 202.662.1025.

I wish you well, and am sorry that the Big Employer was so foolish as to lose you.

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