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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Who here has read 'Atlas Shrugged' ?

   
Author Topic: Who here has read 'Atlas Shrugged' ?
Boothby171
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Or, alternatively, "What to do when the president of your company threatens to fire you, the day after Christmas, just because he's screwed up your medical coverage and you have the unmitigated gall to try and find a way to afford your cancer surgery that just so happens to also reveal the fact that his HR guy, accounting people, benefits broker and CFO are all either incompetent or attempting to commit fraud in order to save the company thousands in medical coverage transition costs?"

(This was Claudia Therese's idea...really)

Anybody got any good leads for mechanical engineering/automation/robotics/space exploration positions grossing better than $100K/year, with full benefits and the occasional international travel?

Oh, and a boss who isn't an @$$hole?

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ClaudiaTherese
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I am unfortunately at a loss on all counts! [Frown]

But I take full responsibility for the thread.

*poke, poke

(((Boothby171)))

*ducks [Wink]

---

Edited to add: Honestly? My most practical advice would be to find a good lawyer who specializes in dealing with workplace problems, including benefits. Other than that and a listening ear, I got nuthin'.

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Boothby171
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I'll take hugs! Heck, I even accepted PRAYERS for my recovery from the back surgery, and then the cancer surgery!

I already had one phone interview with General Dynamics in California (it went very well), and have to start exploring some leads for Mech Eng. work with NASA in Huntsville, Alabama.

And it really doesn't pay to try and sue my employer. What do I gain? He didn't actually fire me.

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Boothby171
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And, because (supposedly) I caused such a stir regarding the insurance transition, my company wound up with the original carrier for an extra month--the month I needed to have my $100K surgery covered. So, instead of it being $19K out of pocket for me, it was a $15 co-pay. Big difference.
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Fyfe
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((((Boothby171))))

I hope things get better for you. (But nothing helpful to offer, I'm afraid!)

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Ela
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Ack, Steve, you still having trouble with that? [Frown]

I second CT's suggestion of finding a good lawyer.

Hope you can work it out.

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Boothby171
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Oh, no...the insurance thing is taken care of.

As long as no additional issues crop up AFTER January 31st that might require me to go back to this (most excellent) urologist.

But maybe I'm missing something re. the lawyer. Sure, everyone I've talked to, their first response is "get a good lawyer." But get a good lawyer to do...what?

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Boothby171:

But maybe I'm missing something re. the lawyer. Sure, everyone I've talked to, their first response is "get a good lawyer." But get a good lawyer to do...what?

---
"What to do when the president of your company threatens to fire you, the day after Christmas ... ?"
---

^--- that "what" [with the quesion mark at the end]

But it sounds like that isn't an issue anymore. I didn't realize it was rhetorical at this point. Excellent!

[ January 27, 2008, 02:07 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Ela
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Glad to hear that the insurance issue it taken care of.

And here's hoping that you have no additional problems and a full recovery from your surgery!

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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Boothby171:

But maybe I'm missing something re. the lawyer. Sure, everyone I've talked to, their first response is "get a good lawyer." But get a good lawyer to do...what?

If nothing else, this seems like it would have been a situation where a little bit of solid legal advice could have probably been helpful.
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Belle
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Do make sure you have no lapse in coverage - take advantage of COBRA if need be so that you will have no problems covering any future problems.

There are a lot of places you can read up on insurance issues, I suggest googling the Kennedy-Kassebaum law and familiarize yourself with your rights.

Good luck!

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pooka
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It sounds like an ADA issue or possibly a whistle-blowing case, if I had to guess. You can probably discuss your situation with a labor and employment lawyer for free. The ones who work the employee end of things realize they are not dealing with people with large purses.

Martindale is a directory that can help you find a lawyer in your state in the are of labor and employment (for employees, not management).

So they threatened to fire you, and you are trying to get out? If you like the actual job, it's possible to hash this out in a way that you can stay without being in constant fear. I mean, that's the ultimate goal of fair employment laws. You shouldn't have to leave if you don't want to.

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Boothby171
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So no one has read "Atlas Shrugged"?

Why would I continue to allow an @$$hole who threatened to fire me when I was suffering from cancer (especially and specifically because I was trying to protect myself and get continuation of medical coverage that would have made the surgery affordable)...why would I continue to allow this guy to PROFIT FROM MY KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS?

I love the work, it's great fun, it's challenging, I'm well paid, and I get to travel the world. If not for the cheap @$$hole in charge, I'd stay forever. But he crossed the line. He doesn't get to profit from me any more.

At the same time, I don't want to shoot myself in the foot, just to spite him (or mix too many metaphors, either).

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Boothby171
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Kennedy-Kassebaum = HIPAA = BLEEEUCH!

As far as I'm concerned, HIPAA is an excuse, used by corporate wonks, to avoid doing anything they don't want to do.

After first learning of my company's intent to change carriers--this was Dec. 10, 2007, I found out from a reliable friend in the Benefits business that MY comany's broker should have sent out a letter to the employees, asking them to list their doctors so that he (the broker) could make sure that there would be proper transition of care. He claims to have done this prior to Dec. 10, but no such letter or request was ever received by the employees.

"But I sent it to Diane a few weeks before...go ask her!" he complained.

So I asked her when she received the request from the Benefits Broker. Her response, "I refuse to answer that question; I feel really uncomfortable talking to you; Please talk to the CFO about this" and she shut down.

Now, to me (and to everyone else I've told this story to), she appeared to be a bit too defensive, as if I had caught her in a mistake. But the CFO said, "Oh, no--I'm sure it was just that she was concerned about a HIPAA issue."

To which I replied, "You know as well as I do that HIPAA serves only as a shield for people to hide behind when they're asked to do something that they don't want to do. It really doesn't do anything else" (that's the beauty of it, eh?)

But back to the question of attorneys and lawsuits...

Sue for what?

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Ela
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I don't really see what that story has to do at all with HIPAA. HIPAA prevents people from talking about specific patients, which she would not have had to do to answer your question.
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ketchupqueen
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Sue for wrongful termination. You would be compensated while you looked for a new job, and they'd get all the fraud issues looked into by the government.

Also, I would ask friends who worked in the field if they'd heard who's hiring, that's how most people I know who like their jobs ended up there.

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ketchupqueen
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(If you come work at JPL you'd be living near some very cool Jatraqueros. [Wink] )
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Reshpeckobiggle
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Here's what you do: you build a city in the mountains with cloaking device that hides it from aerial view and then hijack the airwaves deliver a radio address that last for about 100 pages.
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ClaudiaTherese
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[ROFL]
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Boothby171
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Like I said about HIPAA...people use it like a shield. In fact, the NEW insurance company wanted my company to send them a list of all employees and any outstanding (read: expensive) surgeries that were coming up. Again...sounds like something that HIPAA is supposed to protect against, but it seemes that if the insurance company wants it, HIPAA magically goes away.

Thanks, Resh...my sentiments exactly! And you did notice, I take it, that the famous engineer's joke is in that book: the one that ends, "You know...I can fix that!"

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Kwea
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How is an insurance company suppose to prepare for those surgeries if you don't talk to them about it?

I bet if there was a difference in coverage that interfered with a surgery that had been approved by the old insurance that the people affected would be up in arms if that info WASN'T shared.


As someone who has had to deal with HIPAA issues, your lack of understanding regarding HIPAA, and what it does and does not cover, is interfering with your ability to get information you need.


If you had said something like that to me, I probably wouldn't have given you and answer either, because no matter WHAT I said you would have found a way to insult my performance or level of commitment.

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Belle
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Kennedy Kassebaum is about more than HIPAA. Specifically you want to read up on the sections having to do with you not having lapses in insurance coverage for changing jobs. What you don't want is to have a recurrence of your cancer that will not be covered because you had a lapse and it's considered a pre-existing condition.
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pooka
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I've read Atlas Shrugged, but the connection is not readily apparent to me.

You aren't going to be suing anyone right away. It takes months to work through the various government agencies that will investigate any wrongdoing on the employer's part before you'd even have the option to sue.

Well, good luck with your job search. I still think you should talk to a lawyer, though. I'm not totally clear on what you're complaining about, but you shouldn't have to leave.

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Boothby171
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Belle,

I understood that part about K-K.


Kwea,

Apparently, I'm doing nothing but piss people off these days. There WAS a difference in coverage: my doctor was IN the old plan, but NOT in the new plan. My surgery WAS going to be interfered with, because I could not afford $19,000 up front. And I WAS up in arms, and I told people that I WANTED the information shared. But I still had to make over a dozen phone calls, and the woman in accounting still stonewalled me when I needed an answer, and the CFO STILL blamed HIPAA (inappropriately) as to why she reacted the way she did.

And for my company's benefits broker to tell the new insurance company WITHOUT my permission that I was to undergo Prostate Cancer Surgery, while important to me because of a need for continuation of coverage, would have STILL been a violation of my personal privacy (and therefore my HIPAA rights). But the NEW insurance company wanted a complete list (and spoke of it as if it were a natural right of theirs) of all the employees and their outstanding medical procedures. Again, sounds like a violation of medical privacy, and HIPAA.

So what is it that I'm not understanding?

K-K doesn't care if you have the SAME insurance coverage. It doesn't care if the doctor you had BEFORE changing carriers is covered by the new carrier. It just cares that you have continuing coverage (quantity, not quality). It also doesn't care how much I have to pay for the new coverage, as long as it is available. $15 vs. $19,000? Not an issue to K-K. I would be covered.

(And that was $19,000 up front that the doctor demanded. I would have been reimbursed 80% of "reasonable and customary"--whatever that might have been, after paying a $500 deductable.)

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Boothby171
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Pooka,

One of the points in Atlas Shrugged is that people who make their living from selling their intellectual skills have a tendency to devalue their assets. John Galt decided that the best way to point out how important intellectual property is, was to remove it from circulation--a white collar strike. But, of course, Ayn Rand being the elitist she was, she differentiated between the highly competent brain trust, and the white collar worker who only thought they were competent...but weren't.

The president of my company has shown that he fails to value my worth as an engineer in his engineering firm. Therefore, I am within my rights to withhold my intellectual skills from him--to refuse him the "right" to profit from my skills. I do that by finding work at another company (as opposed to moving up into a secret, hidden valley).

And yes, I know that a lawsuit takes time. But no one has stated (yourself included) JUST WHAT IT WOULD BE THAT I WAS SUING FOR!?

Money? A signed statement? Having the president of the firm fired? I'm not going to spend my money on a lawsuit just to punish someone else; I'm only going to spend money if I make more money in the long run. So what would I sue him for?

[ January 28, 2008, 12:13 AM: Message edited by: Boothby171 ]

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pooka
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quote:
And yes, I know that a lawsuit takes time. But no one has stated (yourself included) JUST WHAT IT WOULD BE THAT I WAS SUING FOR!?

We don't know. That's why you should try talking to a lawyer, assuming they would evaluate your case for free. No one here on Hatrack is a labor lawyer and would know the ins and outs of whether you have experienced anything that constitutes retatiation, abuse, breach of contract or a violation of labor laws with respect to their providing insurance coverage.

But if you're upset enough to quit, it seems like something serious must have happened.

If something serious didn't happen or only almost happened or was merely threatened to happen, maybe you should try calming down and realize that people are people and you should get over it rather than uproot your family (if you have one) and run away. If you don't have a family, then do whatever you feel like.

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DarkKnight
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quote:
that just so happens to also reveal the fact that his HR guy, accounting people, benefits broker and CFO are all either incompetent or attempting to commit fraud in order to save the company thousands in medical coverage transition costs
Oddly enough, in most cases I really think that all of those people are just incompetent. Sometimes I wish they were trying to commit fraud because then I could at least understand why they were acting they way they do....but sadly they are just really incompetent.
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Kwea
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It is not a violation for the second company to ask for that info, as they were going to be responsible for paying for it. You can't (you being the company) expect them to pay for things you refuse to notify them of, nor can releasing that information cause a breach of HIPPA laws if your company has switched providers.


And the company does have the right to change providers if they are paying any part of it, BTW, even if it sucks.


Still, I hope your job search goes well, and I hope you manage to see a lawyer if needed.

And I really hope you don't have to worry about a relapse, regardless of who becomes your insurance provider.

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steven
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My dad recently had his prostate removed. He's 67. It appears as though they caught it early. He said the doctor told him it's really important to get your blood tested every 6 months to check for elevated PSA, if you are a man over 35.
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