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Can my employer force me to take the company health insurance plan? Consumer Q&A

By on May 4th, 2012
Filed: Advice, Consumers, Employee Benefits, Health Insurance, You

Employer-based health insurance is great for most people. Monthly premiums are split between you and the company. You can usually extend that coverage to your dependents. And, unlike buying a plan on your own, you’ll qualify for coverage even if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

But what if you already have health insurance? What if you’re already covered under a spouse’s employer-based plan? What if you already bought health insurance on your own and are quite happy with, thank-you-very-much?

Last week on Yahoo Answers we took a question from someone in that last scenario. She had a health insurance plan she’d bought on her own, and she wanted to keep it. Her employer told her that she MUST accept the company plan instead. Does that sound right to you?

The eHealthInsurance reply was voted Best Answer:

An employer can only force you to accept their health insurance plan when they pay for the full premium themselves and take nothing from your paycheck. If you’re working for a small employer, they may not be aware of the law. They can confirm it, however, by contacting your state department of insurance or the insurance company itself.

If you’re young and healthy, it may be that by adding you to the group policy the average monthly premium paid per person would be reduced for others. It’s possible that they are pressuring you to enroll in the plan for that reason. One healthy person on the policy can make a difference if there aren’t many people enrolled in the plan. However, they cannot legally require you to take the coverage unless they pay for your full monthly premium.

Image by Flickr user DorkyMum


About Douglas Dalrymple

Doug Dalrymple is a member of the communications team at eHealth, Inc. and has worked in the health insurance and technology industries for fifteen years. He works on communications strategy, content creation and management, project management, and corporate messaging.

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