trying to get disability insurance and deal with employer

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trying to get disability insurance and deal with employer

Postby JennyK » Jan 06, 2005 1:29 pm

I just spoke to an Aflac agent who was very helpful, but she needed to speak to an underwriter to get some of my questions answered. I am hopeful that someone here has been through this and will be able to help me.

One of the "knock out" questions on the application is something like "were you hospitalized or treated for anything in the last 24 months?" If I get pregnant a year from now, as planned, I would have to answer yes. Will HG be excluded because of this? I could always wait until after Annie's second birthday, but I would like to TTC a little sooner than that. I hate it that my family planning may revolve around insurance!

Anyhow, are there other issues that may come up with my Aflac app?

I intend to speak frankly to my employer about my intentions to get pregnant and what they can expect from me in terms of work before I TTC. Again, I hate having to do that but in my particular situation I think it's the best route. I am going to ask them (1) not to fire me; and (2) to carry my health insurance premiums. Is there anything else (within reason) I should ask for?
Jenny
Annie, January '04
Will, August '06
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Postby mammaclare » Jan 06, 2005 8:19 pm

All I know about Aflac in particular is that it is a very pricey way to get salary reimbursement. I have heard nothing but bad things from the 2 financial planners I work with on our own finances.

What is the short and long term disability provided by your employer? None? If that is the case, then I would recommend finding an independed insurance agent that can shop a lot of comapnies for the best deal for YOUR circumstances. I use Zander, which is licenced in all states. (www zanderins dot com for more info). Any employer. under the Disability Act, has to provide the same benefits to a pregnant person that they would any other emplyee. So, if they would keep the job or pay health ins for someone who was hit by a car for example, then they have to do the same for you.--including providing disability. If it is offered to other employees, it has to be offered you for your PG.

Also, where does your employer stand on FMLA? Large enough to be federally mandated (50 emplyees or more in *I think* a 50 mile radius) means that they have to keep your job for the first 12 weeks no matter what.

You may want to find a labor attorney to get all the fine points from, if you have concerns about your employment or rights. I am NOT an attorney--don't even play one on TV!

Hope that helps a little. Please do more homework before going w/ AFLAC, though...
Clare
Mommy to Rory Benjamin 8-28-03
And Kieran Alexander 12-15-06
HG Babies-Week 5 to The Bitter End!
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Postby aaronsmommy » Jan 07, 2005 12:51 am

24 months is pretty good, I know when I applied for disability it was at least 5 years for most of the questions. They will probably do a "physical" after the initial application, which means a nurse comes to the house and takes another history. This time the time period they ask about might be longer (some questions were "have you ever . . . ?") so waiting may not spare you from having them know about your history. The disability insurance that I bought after my son does not include pregnancy and I know I would never be able to find one that does. Insurance companies are out to make money, not help anyone.
Buying "hospital income insurance" may not require the same health questions, but you only get money for days you are in the hospital (but you can policies that pay several hundred a day)
As for telling your job, my personal feeling is don't. They can only use that information against you.
Aimee

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Postby JennyK » Jan 07, 2005 1:11 pm

Thanks for the quick replies. The Aflac agent qouted me about $107/mo for short term disability with a 7-day wait. I actually didn't think that was too bad considering that if they write the policy for me I am 99% sure I'll be making claims. Also, in theory I could buy the policy in January, get pregnant in February and start filing claims. Hopefully it won't take me too long to conceive.

I will see what other insurance companies quote me and then apply for the one that appears to be my best bet for getting covered. Thanks for letting me know that Aflac may not be the best deal. I have talked to other HG-ers I met through this forum who have gotten coverage under Aflac that paid out.

I am an attorney and unfortunately my firm is not big enough to be covered by FLMA. The firm also does not offer any short-term disability. I do have long-term coverage but it takes 90 days to kick in and I would have to be unable to do two activities of daily living for it to pay out. Bad as HG is, I don't think I'd get paid under that criteria.

I am the first female attorney of child-bearing age to ever work for this firm, so I am blazing new trails. The firm's personnel handbook claims to apply to all employees, but the language is clearly geared toward support staff. The handbook prescribes how sick/vacation time is accrued and states that employees get 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, during which time they can use any sick or vacation time. In practice, I am a salaried employee and don't have anywhere that I write down the sick or vacation time I am taking. A paralegal recently missed about 6 weeks of work after getting a pituitary tumor removed. The partners were very supportive of her, but I am betting she had to use her leave time and/or take some leave without pay.

Aimee, will you elaborate for me more on why you think I should not tell my employer of my plans? My thought was that it would be better to work out a plan ahead of time rather than risk them not paying my health premiums or firing me when I got pregnant. That way they could plan for it (maybe hire someone to pick up the slack) and I would know what I could expect ahead of time rather than deal with it in between vomiting every 15 minutes.

My husband works full time but I make a lot more money than he does, so it's much harder on us financially for me to be out of work than it would be for him--not that we could afford that either. I know many of you are in the same boat. HG is difficult in so many different ways!
Jenny
Annie, January '04
Will, August '06
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Postby mammaclare » Jan 07, 2005 1:19 pm

Jenny--

I feel like a turd giving advice to an attorney! You probably knew all of what I said. Sorry!

That said, I am the SOLE breadwinner in my house so I know how big a deal it can be to consider a possible termination of employment. I really would still consult a labor attorney and even ask their input on whether you would garner good will by advising your firm ahead of time, or keep it quiet as Aimee suggested.

In case you don't know, Aimee is a physician, so she is aware of the implications of a terrible HG (she had the worst!) pregnancy on employment in a high profile, high demands job. Her advice may be worth something....I am a drug sales rep so I am covered under FMLA. And beyond the 12 weeks, my emplyer decided to retain me on STD (which at my job is full pay), but they could have ditched me legally after that point. I was lucky that I bust my butt when not sick and had a great manager and a good reputation. It helped when I was out 15 weeks for HG, 4 weeks for pre-delivery and 6 weeks after. I count my blessing dailyt and wonder if they would be so charitible a second time around...
Clare
Mommy to Rory Benjamin 8-28-03
And Kieran Alexander 12-15-06
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Postby JennyK » Jan 07, 2005 4:15 pm

Clare,

You are not a turd! :) My dad is also an attorney and I have spoken to him and one of his partners, who was the first female at their firm to have a baby, about these issues extensively. Both thought it was a tough call but advised me to bring it up with one partner in particular (the one I work with most and know the best on a personal level), get his feedback and hopefully get him on my side, and then talk to the managing partner. The law offers me little protection. Technically they are required to grant me a "reasonable" leave of absense for any pregnancy-related disability, but I fear it wouldn't take much for a de facto firing. And they are under no obligation to continue paying my health insurance premiums.

The one thing I have going for me is that I work for some genuinely nice people. The only problem is that they still have a business to run and bills to pay.

I did know Aimee is a physician--in fact she emailed some very helpful info to my mom when I was pregnant so help get my TPN cocktail right. (Thanks, Aimee!) And I also know how severe her HG was. At my lowest point I did not think it was possible to be any sicker, but from Aimee's story I know that unfortunately it is. Ugh.

It is so unfair to be cursed with HG and be the major or sole breadwinner. HG is bad enough without having to worry about employment issues on top of it. Do you plan on having any more? I think I'd like three but we'll see how #2 goes.
Jenny
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Will, August '06
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Postby aaronsmommy » Jan 08, 2005 10:57 am

Jenny,

I just put everything together and figured out who you are. It's so hard to keep track of everyone these days!

From what I remember about your hg, I think you need to be prepared that they will only write you a disability policy that specifically excludes pregnancy. They will ask the questions and they will request and review your medical records. If you do find someone to write a policy, let me know, I'll be calling them myself! I know for me we had to think about activities of daily living and the ones I could clearly not do without assistance was eating, dressing, and bathing (dressing and bathing mostly because of the pump and the picc line), so I think you may qualify there, but maybe not for more than 90 days.

As for telling them, I think it is hard to prepare, even if they did know what was coming, but knowing in advance gives them an opportunity to sour and plan against you. They can't really hire someone in advance when you aren't really sure when you are going to get pg. What if it takes a while, or you have an early miscariage, do you have that person in place ready for you to be out? What if they just decide it is easier to keep them and get rid of you? They can also do things like start giving you bad reviews before you get pg so they can get rid of you without saying it was because of pg (a lot of times people will be totally accomodating to illnesses that are unrelated to pg and not when pg is involved) I think it is hard to know if they are genuinely nice people until they are put to the test and if they really are they will be accomodating either way and if they aren't, they probably won't appreciate the fact that you got pg knowing this would happen.

I really thought my collegues were nice people and my friends and I ended up getting fired anyway even though the law in California is very clear and strict on this and they knew that.

Iprobably sound pretty bitter on this topic, and I guess I am, but if you do decide to tell them, only do it if you feel like it is in your best interest, not because you feel like it would be better for them - they likely wouldn't extend you the same courtesy.

Aimee
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so we don't have to go broke?

Postby IslandDreamer » Jan 08, 2005 11:49 am

Okay, so we don't have to go broke?...at least with the first hg pg? Disability insurance? How perfect is that for hg moms.

My employer with Chris was willing to give me a term or two off, carry insurance, but no worky and no pay-y. I ended up leaving because we moved even though the insurance at this small college covered EVERYTHING for my home healthcare, ER visits, u/s etc. I do not remember EVER seeing a bill or paying a penny. What a nice little college that was. :D Actually, I still miss that job on so many levels.

Now I'm at a state university and not in a tenure track position, but fortunately I was able to finish the term in the spring, somehow...don't know how :shock: . But I'm very interested to see what the implications of this thread are for other hg moms.

Is it possible to get paid as if we were in a car accident or had some other sudden issues...again, it seems one case of hg will be used against us, but for the first timer in particular. And of course, would love to see financial support for repeate hgers.

Thanks for the great conversation!!!

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