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I was diagnosed with LC a couple of years ago. I'm doing very well :D and was wondering how to get back into the workplace. My COBRA Insurance is in effect and will be for a a while.

My question is this. Let's say I would get hired and then we get to the benefits stuff. Should I just sign up for their Health Insurance as if nothing was wrong and continue to pay my COBRA out of pocket because of pre-existing conditions? Or, would I need to refuse the companies insurance and just say that I have my own Healthcare Coverage which to me, anyway, would raise all kinds of red flags. Not to mention that I think on the insurance sign up forms they ask things like whether the applicant has been on short term disability in the last X amount of years, etc.

I'm having trouble getting answers for these questions. I'm not trying to take advantage of potential employers as I'm doing well. On the other hand, I don't want this unfortunate experience to jeapardize career opportunities. My other option is to look at Independent Contractor opportunities and go from there.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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First, congratulations on your survival and return to the workplace.

I am not an expert but have researched this a little. If you have COBRA, and go to work somewhere that has benefits, I believe that they HAVE to insure you under their healthplan. Any pre-existing conditions would be covered, as long as there hasn't been a break in your insurance coverage(which would be COBRA in your case), for a certain period of days-I'm wanting to say 59 but I could be wrong. I think that the only way they can deny you insurance is if you have been uninsured for more than this number of days. You do have protection under the HIPAA act and I believe you can find information out if you google HIPAA.

If anyone knows differently, and I am incorrect with any of this, please don't worry about posting differently. I think I'm right, but I've been wrong before (at least once. :lol: ).

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Hi Kentee,

I'm not sure that I can help you much. I think there are many factors to the benefits stuff. It all depends on the company and also laws in your state.

I used to work human resources for a large company, and during hiring employees were given open enrollment which meant they were not asked any medical questions, they were given insurance regardless. It was just part of the hiring package. However, if an employee turned down insurance and wanted to add it at a later date, then they were asked all kinds of questions.

Now however I work for a small company that has insurance through an insurance company geared towards small businesses. I just added their benefits as mine were through my husband and ended at his death. They asked me to fill out an entired medical history questionaire.

Also, I looked into a few things here in our state as far as Cobra and insurance since we were afraid Keith's insurance was going to run out. I know that most states have a waiting period for pre-existing conditions. Here in WI, if you pick up insurance through a company and they deny you coverage on medical expenses related to the pre-existing condition, they can only do so for 6 months. WI mandates that waiting periods for insurance can be no greater than that. I've seen a few other states, and some are more. I think I remember that IL is 18 months.

So, I guess I would go for employment and find a job you like, and worry about the benefits when it comes up. It may not be an issue with the company you choose (and you don't have to disclose anything to them if you don't want to, by law they can't ask). If it is an issue with the insurance carrier they use, I'd research your state disability laws.

In the mean time, I'd hold onto the Cobra until you know for sure. You don't want to risk a lapse in coverage and something unexpected coming up.

I wish you the best of luck in your search, and I will be praying for success.

Also, Congratulations on Beating the Crap out of this disease. I am so glad you are doing well.

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Wow, thanks so much for the replies. I kind of thought the best thing to do is keep my big mouth shut and proceed as if nothing is wrong. However, I remember in the past that at the very least, the enrollment form for company health insurance asks if you have any other health care coverage.

I was going to ask my recruiter about this but feel that may reduce her motivation for getting me into the interview process. I do have an Email out to someone I know in the insurance industry.

It's a pretty complex issue from what I can gather and I don't want to do something to make me uneligible for both my company insurance and COBRA benefits.

I have been going in for scans every 3 months and will continue doing so. This is why it's important that I have all of my "duckies" in a row. I hope I'm not making this more difficult than need be but obviously, I don't want to slip up and lose my coverage altogether whether it's out of pocket or not. (I'd like to proceed into my job search confidently without these unanswered questions hanging over my head).

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You are doing the right thing by checking around and asking questions. My late wife and I were paying our own insurance when she got Diagnosed but when My Co. offered a group plan we had no problems even with pre approved condition getting covered. Good Luck wi this and let us know how it works out and what you had to do. May help someone else down the road and Congrats on doing so well in this fight. :)

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I wouldn't say anything unless it comes up on a form.

As you said there is no reason to give any information out especially if it can hurt your career. I wouldn't tell any recruiter either.

There are too many companies that unfortunately might use the previous condition against you and there is no reason to share it without explicitly being asked on an insurance form.

It has happened to people on this board. It even happened to Lance Armstrong in a way. Once his French team Cofidis discovered his condition, they fired him and cut off his medical insurance. A little different situation than yours but it just shows a company will try to protect its bottom line (even if there really isnt a problem)

Just my opinion

Good luck.

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I think it depends on your State laws.

In NJ as long as there is no break in coverage, they have to insure you. I retired early (because I felt so sick, found out I had cancer) and was on Cobra for a year and then I paid for insurance on my own for 2 years. Since there was no break in coverage they had to continue to cover me.

Different states have different laws. Does your State have an insurance department you can call?

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I'm in Georgia, I'm sure they do. As Carleen said, I'm sure there are many factors involved with different companies, states, etc. It's a pretty complex issue from what I've been able to determine.

I think that if I was in a situation where the companies insurance would not cover pre-existing conditions, I could keep my COBRA in force until which time, by law, the company insurance has to totally kick in.

I have someone who works for an insurance company that is going to ask her benefits manager about all of this. I'll let you know what I find out.

I guess another fear is going thru the interview process, hopefully getting hired, then having to send an insurance form into HR that would detail everything. It's a tuff 1 and that's why I'm investigating...

I really wasn't even considering "conventional" employment because of all of this and was thinking going strictly the Independent Contractor route...I've been in outside sales my whole career covering a multi-state area. However, in this day and age, the travel costs without much income initially will be brutal to say the least.

It will all work out and I'll let you know what happens. Hopefully, this can help some other folks out..

Thanks again for all the kind words!!

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