Getting fired from work and COBRA

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timmysang
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 4/23/2008 5:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Actually I have several questons. I have had Cronh's for years and last year had a resection. I took short term disability for the surgery and recovery. I went back to work in Dec. of last year. I get symtoms occasionally like running to the bathroom a lot. I have several other conditions including hypothyroidism and COPD. I also have social anxiety.I also don't enjoy the work that I do. And I guess I now sometimes get depressed now trying to keep it all together. I have been taking a lot of personal days off of work within the last month or so because it is sometimes real hard to get myself out of bed.
 
My manager seems cool about it all but I am not sure what the company policies are about taking so many days off are. They are call PTO days so they are not actually called sick days. I don't know if this is something that I could be fired for by upper management or HR. I am just not sure about that and wondered if anyone else knows about this
 
Should I look into perm disability because of the Crohn's and the stress. I also see a psychiatrist for the anxiety and stress.
 
One other think. If I get really crazy and just decide to quit my job, I do have the option of paying for my own insurance through COBRA don't I. That is if I just quit. Also, how long am I able to continue COBRA coverage while looking for something else? I know that it's quit expensive.
 
I know it's not a well thought out plan with just quiting my job without a new one in place but sometimes I am just at my wit's end with work and feel like just walking out.
 
Thanks,

dustspeck
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 565
   Posted 4/23/2008 6:16 AM (GMT -7)   
after my diagnosis last year i decided to take a voluntary lay off from work to try and recoup. the owner of the company knew everything thing i was going through and decided to pay for my insurance for 6 months. now that the insurance is running out (last day this month actually EPP!) i did file for free care which here is called mass health, i live in massachusetts. still waiting to hear back. i believe it is the same in all states that they are required to offer COBRA within 30 days of termination/lay off. not sure if it's the same where you are but COBRA would have cost me around $350 for a single plan. basicallly you have to pay your own premium. i believe COBRA is offered up to a year. i would see if you resigned if you would be able to get unemployment. i am pretty sure seeking disability takes a few tries and possibly will need a lawyer. you could always try and stick it out with job and see if you can start the disability process. sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time, good luck with everything!
.: stephanie :.
32 y/o female diagnosed 8/8/7 with crohn's of the terminal ileum w/ stricture/scarring
meddies: 6mp, percocet, trazodone, ativan, iron, calcium, folic acid & some other vits


dustspeck
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 565
   Posted 4/23/2008 8:38 AM (GMT -7)   
i just spoke with my boss from my old job ..COBRA would be $450 a month for my single plan. yeah, no way i am going to afford that!
.: stephanie :.
32 y/o female diagnosed 8/8/7 with crohn's of the terminal ileum w/ stricture/scarring
meddies: 6mp, percocet, trazodone, ativan, iron, calcium, folic acid & some other vits


Roni
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 2480
   Posted 4/23/2008 8:55 AM (GMT -7)   
does your work offer STD and LTD?

if so, then absolutely DO NOT quit. Talk to your doc and go on STD.

timmysang
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 4/23/2008 9:14 AM (GMT -7)   
I appreciate you responses. I know that talk about quiting is crazy because of the insurance issues and everything else that goes along with that. Sometimes it's just so hard to get myself motivated for a job that I don't like.

I took STD and FMLA last Oct for the surgery. I still have several intermittant approved leaves available from that leave but with out pay that I can take. Maybe I do that to get some time to think about things. I am not sure how that works with opening a new claim for STD since I had one not so long ago.

karendee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 1642
   Posted 4/23/2008 9:22 AM (GMT -7)   

you can keep cobra for 18 months unless you have another qualifying event. I would suggest you try not to get on cobra unless you have to because it is very expensive. (basically you pay the company cost of your benefits)

 

Info on Cobra:

For more information about your rights under ERISA, including COBRA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other laws affecting group health plans, contact the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in your area or visit the EBSA website at www.dol.gov/ebsa.


 ...

Karen (Karendee)

Diagnosed w/ Crohn’s Disease  March 2007 On 150mg Azathioprine (generic Imuran), Pentasa, & Entocort (take zofran for nausea now)

Diagnosed w/  Fibromyalgia May 2007 also on Soma

Also have Arthritis, and feel like I am falling apart sometimes...


broomhilda
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1488
   Posted 4/23/2008 7:28 PM (GMT -7)   
If you are fired you are not eligible for Cobra benefits in our state. Cobra is available for up to 18 months as karendee suggested. Another thing to consider is if the insurance company would try to get you on a pre-existing clause when you go from the Cobra to an individual policy. That could mean up to a 12 month period before they would pick up anything Crohns related.
Dx'd Jan'06, 1st Resection 7/06, Predinsone, Humira, Imuran, B12 injections, Nexium. Secondary conditions: Psorasis, Acne, Fatigue, Joint Pain, Lactose Intolerant, gallstones, fibroid cysts, peri-menopausal.


crohns07
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 4/23/2008 8:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Usually you are eligible for COBRA unless you are fired for gross misconduct and even then our attorney recommends that we offer everyone COBRA to cover our butts. You are eligible for 18 months unless you have another qualifying event. If your company offers STD and LTD, then don't quit. Go back out on STD for 12 weeks and work towards going on LTD after the 12 weeks of STD is up. It is likely that you will have to pay for your health insurance while on LTD, through COBRA. You should talk to your HR rep and find out how much single coverage is for medical/prescription coverage. I took 3 different STD leaves last year. All of varying lengths, but in total they added up to over 12 weeks. They treat each claim as a separate incident.

timmysang
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 4/23/2008 8:47 PM (GMT -7)   
So even though I used STD and FMLA for the surgery and went back to work only 5 months ago in Dec. 2007, I could go out again on STD?
I was under the impression that I could use STD only once for 12 weeks within a 12 month period. So I can open multiple STD per year or as needed. Then what I would need to do is have the doctor fill out the Medical Certification for the absence that I had to have filled out originally? I was not aware of the fact that they treat each STD as a separate incident. Is that also the case with FMLA where it's treated as a separate incident.

The combination of the Crohn's, stress at work and anxiety and a couple other things that I mentioned earlier got me really out of sorts today.

Thanks to everyone for your help with this.

karendee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 1642
   Posted 4/24/2008 5:00 AM (GMT -7)   
if you use cobra and have insurance with no gaps you do not get a preexisting clause. that is a federal law. so if you are out of a job take the cobra until you find a new one and get new insurance. Cobra means you are on your old companies insurance benefits for up to 18 months so as long as there are no gaps in insurance coverage you won't have a preexisting condition clause.

STD is probably a company policy, I am in HR and our company allows up to 26 weeks of STD then you would apply for LTD (long term disability) after that.

The 12 weeks is a FMLA thing and yes you get 12 weeks per year for that one. so if you used your 12 weeks you would be on company policy.
Ask someone in HR about STD rules... they are there to help you. your company policy may differ from all of ours.
karen

 ...

Karen (Karendee)

Diagnosed w/ Crohn’s Disease  March 2007 On 150mg Azathioprine (generic Imuran), Pentasa, & Entocort (take zofran for nausea now)

Diagnosed w/  Fibromyalgia May 2007 also on Soma

Also have Arthritis, and feel like I am falling apart sometimes...


Jeny
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 437
   Posted 4/24/2008 5:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Sounds to me like you need to get away from it all for awhile. i wouldn't quit your job yet, u may just need a well deserved vacation. maybe do someting different, something u wouldn't normally do, like go to the park and walk in the woods or something. i find nature can be really helpful when i'm down. i've delt with a lot of depression for all sorts of things throughout my life and i have found taking some kind of vacation, even if that's not actually traveling somewhere, but going somewhere u normally wouldn't even in your own town. like the zoo or a museum. go alone or go with someone u really like and is upbeat. i find going alone can be really nice, no one to answer to and u can do or go wherever u want.

i'm sorry to hear your having troubles, when i take lots of time off work, i worry that everyone is talking about me or that people think i don't need to be there because i'm not needed- cuz they got along fine without me here. but, after talking to people about it and coming out of the cloud of depression i find that not the case and there are actually people who care and are willing to listen to what's going through my crazy head.

good luck and i hope u can either find a job u enjoy or discover something u like about the job u have.
-jeny

CatMan
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 289
   Posted 4/24/2008 7:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Timmysang,

I was out of work for 2 extended periods during 2006 and 2007. This totaled 7 months. I was covered with my STD during the first 6 months, then I got a letter saying I'd used up all my benefits for the year. So, in my case there was a limit to the amount of disability time I could use during a 12 month period. I don't know whether that is specific to my employer and its benefits or not. I'd check this out with your HR office if you need to go out on disability again.

Have you explored other employment options? Since you say that you hate your job it might help to get something that might be less stressful and more fulfilling to you. I know that looking for work in and of itself is stressful, but it might be worth checking out.
Current Medications:

Pentssa, 1000 mg qid
Vitamin B Complex
Trader Joe's Probiotic
Folic Acid
Remicade infusion; every 8 weeks
Klonopin
Ambien, PRN
Seasilver Whole Food Liquid Nutrition


Matthew
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 4/24/2008 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Try a vacation first. Even if you just sit at home twiddling your thumbs, its better to reduce stress. Especially if you have CD! I just took my vacation last week ( first one paid that I've had in about 5 years!). Does wonders for your mood. Which usually helps when your flaring..

Sincerely,
Matthew

FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 4/24/2008 10:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Are you seeing a therapist? It seems like crohns isn't your number one concern. Maybe therapy could help you deal with the anxiety and stress issues you are having so that you can remain gainfully employed. Your diseases are not conducive to no insurance and no income as you very well know.
26 Year old married female law student.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid.  For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn.  I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13.  I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium.  Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I alos take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.
 
 


Homeboy
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 637
   Posted 4/24/2008 1:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Whatever you decide to do, you should get proof of coverage from your current insurance company. Your HR department could help you out, or you can ask for it directly from the health insurance company.

This will help keep you out of that pre-ex clause for health insurance at your next job.
CD dx @ 13 (1987)
Prednisone 15mg every other day
Imuran 100mg day
Celexa 20mg day
Pain Meds
Vitamins + B12 Injections Once Per Week


Amy2
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 4/24/2008 2:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Both me and my wife got diagnosed with Crohn's Disease a couple years after we got married which was about 2.5 years ago. We have been through nightmares with insurance companies and our employers. You need to read your company's policies and have them in writing. You cannot ever trust what someone tells you over the phone without getting it backed up in writing. You will have to become the expert on this, HR only knows what they have experienced in the past and are not necessarily knowlegable about this.

For our company, we get 100% of our pay for up to 26 weeks of STD, but all companies have their own policy. We have to return to work for a full 90 without an absence related to the STD to qualify again. They can't even tell me if this is calendar or business days in my HR and disability department. After 6 months you can qualify for LTD. If you pay for this insurance after tax, then it is not taxable income. I recommend that you find a new company with excellent benefits. I get unlimited sick leave, 100% of my pay for STD, and then LTD. A vacation and a new job may keep you more upbeat for a while, but you need more than that. Depression is highly correlated with instestinal problems.

You might try reading "The Maker's Diet," by Jordin Rubin. You also need to pick up a copy of the book "The Secret," by Rhonda Byrne. These two books have changed my life. You also need to find some friends to lean on in times of need. Share your feelings and get things off your chest, but you also need to learn to be a positive person. No one wants to hang around a drag all the time. I had to learn that about myself. You will attract people who are like you, so make a point to help other people and meet their needs. You will feel better about yourself and attract people who will inadvertantly help you. I wish you the best.
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