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Can an employer require diagnosis and medication info from existing employees?

Hilliard, OH |
Filed under: Employee rights

My employer (< 50 employees) is considering changing health insurance providers and has asked for diagnosis and medication info for me and my dependents to get a rate quote. I am concerned this could lead to termination of employees that are causing higher plan rates. Can my employer require me to provide this information to them or to the new potential insurer or both?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

There are several existing laws which address when an employer may inquire about an employee’s health information. In this case, it seems that your employer’s requests are lawful. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to request healthcare information to make a rate determination, as they factor pre-existing conditions and demographic information into their calculations.

It would seem, at this point, that if you wish to continue receiving benefits from your employer that there is little that you can do. However, if after providing the information, you feel that you are discriminated against, I would recommend that you speak with an attorney. Disability Discrimination is unlawful and you may have some legal recourse, at that point.

Lori A. Strobl
Strobl & Associates, Co. LPA
1015 E. Centerville Station Rd.
Centerville, Ohio 45459
www.strobllaw.com
(937) 496-1450
www.strobllaw.com

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Posted

Thanks for your assistance. I wonder if ADA covers a case where an employee is terminated due to the higher cost of including a disabled employee's dependent in an insurance plan if the employee is not disabled.

Posted

In Ohio, if you are an at-will employee of a private company, which generally means you have not signed an employee contract, you may be terminated for any reason that is not discriminatory. Due to the recent changes in the federal health law, the information your employer seeks may be needed for rate determination as well as other considerations including preexisting conditions that may be covered under the new plan. However, there are limitations to the information sought and with whom it may be shared. If you are concerned about the information your employer seeks, refer your questions to a reputable attorney who limits their practice to health care law.

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Posted

I think this question is going to come up more and more over then next couple of years. Recently, I discussed this with other attorneys and it seems to be a growing concern for employees with health problems. If an employer terminated an employee related to his or her health/health care needs, it would likely be a case of discrimination/wrongful termination. The employer may try and find "a reason" for terminating an employee. However, if that reason is a pretext for an unlawful purpose (lowering health care costs) then the individual would likely have a case against the employer if terminated. As the other attorney said, it appears there is nothing unlawful or improper going on at this time.

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