Michelle R. on April 13, 2023
Hello! My husband had cancer surgery and just found out that he will need to have radiation as well. However, he was just recently offered a new job/position with a new company and is strongly considering taking the job. I'm concerned for two reasons in helping him make a decision. First, if he switched jobs, with his pre-existing condition, isn't there an exclusion period where his radiation treatment can be denied initially? And second, will the ADA act cover him in this new job should he need a flexible schedule while taking the radiation treatments?
Apr 14, 2023
Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:
Thank you so much for reaching out to Cancer and Careers. These are great questions, and they require considering a lot of different things. The incredible news is that your husband has a new opportunity to weigh – congratulations on his job offer!
1. To answer your first question, in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) implemented new regulations which prevent all health insurers from denying coverage to people for any reason, including health status, and from charging higher premiums based on health status and gender. While you can’t be denied coverage based on his pre-existing condition, he may want to understand what the continuity of care looks like from an insurance perspective.
Since an offer has already been made, it is a reasonable question from ANY perspective employee to ask at what point their health insurance kicks in. This way you can consider options like COBRA to bridge any gaps to the new insurance kicking in. It may also be important to understand if his current care team is covered under the new employer’s insurance, as that may be a consideration to weigh as well.
For more: https://www.cancerandcareers.org/en/at-work/legal-and-financial/new-insurance-legislation-hipaa-cobra-gina-aca
Another great resource: https://triagecancer.org/cancer-health-insurance-finances-cost
2. It is understandable that you would be thinking about what protections he may need in his new job given that he may need a flexible schedule for radiation. A cancer diagnosis does not automatically mean someone is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He will still need to make sure that his company is bound by the ADA or a State Fair Employment Law (or both) and that he is eligible based on the specifics of his experience as while often cancer qualifies as a disability, every person/situation is looked at individually.
Some resources to understanding the ADA are:
Since he has the security of his existing job, he may feel more comfortable to negotiate a reasonable accommodation in advance of taking the job. Or, he can wait until further down the line.
For more on reasonable accommodations: https://www.cancerandcareers.org/en/at-work/legal-and-financial/cancer-and-the-ada-fmla
Requesting reasonable accommodations: https://www.cancerandcareers.org/en/at-work/legal-and-financial/requesting-reasonable-accommodations
I hope the above information and resources are helpful as he weighs his options. We’d love to hear what decision he makes—and please don’t hesitate to reach back if you have additional questions or would like to set up a conversation with someone on staff.
Maddy Meislin, MPA
Senior Manager of Programs
Cancer and Careers
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