Can my employer require me to carry health insurance through them if I have other insurance and that plans offered are not affordable?

Since I am a teacher non-union, my insurance runs from October 1 – September 30. When 2018 laws went into effect, the insurance plan I am on changed. I was alerted by my employer that the plan no longer has an office co-pay of $60 for the first 3 visits but that I will be responsible for the doctor’s bill until the deductible of $5,000 is met. This plan’s premiums are covered fully by my employer. The next level up is about $400 with 40 co-pays and a $3,000 deductible. I was offered to change my plan to this one if I didn’t want to keep my current plan because of the changes. My husband’s insurance in infinitely better, covering most everything at 90% and no deductible. When I originally enrolled, I was told by my employer that, despite having outside coverage, I was required to carry a plan through them because they have a rate guarantee based on the number of employees covered. There are less than 50 employees employed. Since I was told that I was required, I chose the one that cost me nothing and figured I would depend on my husband’s insurance but upon further research when this change occurred, I realized that unless something major happens with my health, his insurance will likely not kick in because of the high deductible on my primary plan. Either plan offered through my employer is going to cost me nearly $5,000 a year, despite having a secondary insurance that would cover the majority of all health expenses. What are my options when speaking with my employer about declining coverage through them?

Asked on January 18, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you don't have any options: employers are free to set the terms and conditions for emploment, and those terms and conditions can include a requirement that employees have employer-provided health insurance even if they have coverage through other sources. Your employer may require this, and can terminate you if you do not maintain such coverage.

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