Can employer kick pregnant employee off plan?

I’m four months pregnant and have not told anyone at my office yet.  I’m afraid that somehow I will lose my health insurance or even my job, once they know I’m pregnant. I’m not married or anything.  Can they take away my health insurance because I’m pregnant?  I’m a full-time employee.

Expecting And Anxious

Dear Expecting And Anxious,

The employer cannot take away your health insurance, unless the plan is dropped for all employees. Taking away your health insurance would be a clear violation of the federal and state rules about discrimination against pregnant women. Only a brazen employer would hand an employee such a strong case for the state human rights commission.

The employer could not legally take away your health insurance, but they could do the next best thing: fire you. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not consider pregnancy to be a disability. Therefore employers do not have to make reasonable accommodation for pregnant employees. The result is that a pregnant employee could be legally fired because she needs more bathroom breaks, or cannot do heavy lifting.

For many women, being fired from a job means losing their group health insurance. COBRA coverage may be very expensive.

For your sake and your health, don’t spend your time worrying about losing your job or your health insurance.  Focus on doing a good job and assume the best about your employer until you see something different.  You might want to tell them soon, so that they can plan for covering your workload while you are out.

 

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Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.