updates: the nosy coworker, not oversharing as a manager, and more

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, when I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. My colleague won’t leave me alone after my former employee died

I want to start with a huge thank you to the AAM community. The messages of support and advice were very helpful in reframing things for myself moving forward.

Myrtle has not texted me at all since I wrote to you, but she did try to bring up my former employee’s death in our next meeting. When she asked if I had heard anything else, I responded “I am upset about [employee’s] death. Out of respect for her and her family, I think it’s important not to contribute to the rumor mill. Now what do you need from me for the X project?” Myrtle seemed a bit flustered, but did refocus and has not brought it up again.

Alison, you were right about their being a much larger pattern of boundary-crossing behavior from Myrtle. In the past, she has brought her children to work events and left them for me to babysit (ignoring my shocked “No! I cannot watch them!”). There’s more, but other details would be too specific for anonymity. Unfortunately, Flitwick and several key managers in my organization also ignore boundaries. The more time I spend in this and similar roles, the more I get the sense that overly-personal work relationships are not abnormal for my current industry and are a fact of life in my geographical area. Hopefully I can use some free resources in the next few months to train for an entirely new career, leave my current organization for good, and move somewhere else in 3-5 years.

In the meantime, I have politely declined any one-on-one meetings with Myrtle without a clear work purpose, thus severing the mentor relationship. We are having to work closely on a special project Flitwick assigned us, but as it is new for both of us it has been easier to maintain an assumption of equal footing. Flitwick and Myrtle are both on information diets – I have been practicing using your past scripts when asking for leave (sick and annual) without providing details that could be used to question my health/state of mind/need for time off. Some of the comments helped me realize that I am not nearly as good at setting (and maintaining) boundaries as I want to be, so I am going to do some self-improvement reading and see if I can find a new therapist to assist me.

2. Not over-sharing as a manager while trying to de-stigmatize mental health

I wanted to write with a very quick update, first to thank everyone for the thoughtful comments and feedback, and also to say that my anxiety level about these issues went down about 5000% when I formally changed my first name and pronouns to reflect my nonbinary gender identity. :)

I realize the gender stuff wasn’t really the focus of my question, but since coming out and changing my name, everything just feels, oof, so much easier. It’s honestly hard to explain, but it’s like a lot of things I used to really intellectualize – “how do I be exactly the right amount of honest/authentic but not uhhhh so much so that it causes problems??” – just don’t require strategizing about anymore. I just am myself and it’s out there and everything else follows from that.

(That’s not to say navigating manager-employee boundaries for the first time isn’t a challenge! It just doesn’t feel like this totally intractable mess anymore.)

Sending all my love and encouragement to any other readers who are on a gender-nonconforming-in-the-workplace journey. I believe you, and believe in you!

3. My employee gets their work done but has a terrible attitude (#2 at the link)

After reading the response and comments, I took the course of action most people had recommended: laying out the specific behaviors I’d like to see changed. I met with Jan, discussed the behaviors that were causing challenges, and shared a very brief, straightforward list of the specific actions I wanted to see as follow up. As many of the commenters suggested would happen, Jan begrudgingly agreed to it and almost immediately failed to meet the actions laid out in it.

Unfortunately, while I had initially received encouragement on developing this plan, my boss did not back me up when I went to him with this update. Instead, he directed me to pull back the plan. Going back to Jan with that had the effect of undermining whatever respect they had for me in the first place, so the situation has just gotten worse. Since it’s now clear there will be no consequences, Jan pretty much does whatever they want, including ignoring asks from me unless my boss is involved somehow. At this point, it feels like my boss should take over managing Jan, but he isn’t willing to (despite Jan asking).

Although I like my job outside of this, I am starting to explore other opportunities. I feel defeated and alone trying to navigate this situation, and I can’t see any positive outcome. I appreciate all the advice from the AAM community. Wish I had a happier update for everyone!

4. Friday good news (#1 at the link)

This is a good (but chaotic) update to the good news that I sent in in August 2020. I was the OP whose organization (Organization A) gave me a 30% raise because 1) I was extremely underpaid for my industry and 2) the need for my role (professional support staff at a nonprofit-type organization …. think IT) expanded greatly due to the pandemic. My plan after that raise had been to quit my contractor role (in a related area, but more specialized) at another organization (Organization B) so that I would have more time in my life. Well, a few months after my raise, two things happened at essentially the same time:

• Organization A drastically cut their benefits to all employees. They had “paused” employer-sponsored retirement contributions back in May 2020, but still have not outlined a plan for putting them back in place… I should note that although this organization has had to make large investments to accommodate the pandemic, they have NOT lost revenue, and I know that they got a large PPP loan. So morale in that department was already a little low, and then they rolled out a plan to eliminate the employer-provided group health insurance (during a PANDEMIC!) and instead provide “individualized health benefits counseling” where they contracted with these consultants to advise employees about joining their spouses plan, getting an ACA plan, or… and this was the real problem … getting a Christian health-sharing plan. Organization A is ecumenically Christian, but employees come from a broad spectrum of beliefs and many were not on board with the idea of having something that is explicitly not health insurance and requires signing a conservative statement of faith. During the rollout of this plan, HR and the higher ups kept emphasizing that the goal was for each employee to have equivalent or better coverage for less money, and the idea was that employees would choose an “individualized” plan, and then Organization A would pay a certain percentage of the premium. However, it eventually became clear that Organization A would only contribute to the cost of health insurance if the employee chose the plan that was recommended to them by the consultant. And, of course, many employees were recommended to get the (very inexpensive, very limited coverage) Christian health-sharing plan (including me). So, the organization effectively eliminated employer-sponsored coverage.

• One of the directors that I worked closely with at Organization B left their job somewhat unexpectedly. Knowing this, I reached out and essentially said that if they were interested in having me continue my role there, I would be interested in a full-time role. I have worked as a contractor with this organization for 2 years, and have great relationships with colleagues there. It took a few months, but eventually they offered me a full-time role with an additional 10% increase in compensation! Alison, this offer is AMAZING. I have never had good benefits before. I will be able to meaningfully save for retirement in the first time in my life.

So, here I am in 2021, soon to be making almost 40% more than I was a year ago and with 1 job for the first time since I was 16. Hopefully there are no more professional changes in my immediate future. I’ve given my two-weeks notice at Organization A and my immediate supervisor is upset, because he will be very overwhelmed when I leave, but he understands where I’m coming from. Every day I hear more complaints from other employees there about how there will be a lot of turnover (at a historically low-turnover organization) in the coming year.

{ 129 comments… read them below }

  1. EPLawyer*

    #3 — Get out NOW. Your boss is more invested in appeasing Jan, than keeping you. Despite you getting the promotion over Jan.

    #4 – What the What??? Christian health Sharing Plan? And they were surprised no one jumped at the opportunity? talk about out of touch. Good for you getting out and going full time with B.

    1. hayling*

      Yeah I hear Alison say “your boss sucks and isn’t going to change” all the time, and it’s true. Your boss should always back you up.

    2. EPLawyer*

      I just looked up Christian Health Sharing Plans. Even Dave Ramsey is all — Beware, they may not cover you and they aren’t insurance.

      1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

        As I was reading the letter I was thinking even Dave Ramsey recommends at least HSAs.

      2. Nea*

        They’re a scam, is what they are. There’s no guarantee there will be a payout at all if you need it, much less a guarantee that they will pay out anything near what you’ll need. They only exist so that people can claim they have “insurance.”

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        It would be more honest to drop insurance for employees so they have a “qualifying event” and could buy into an Affordable Care Act plan.

    3. Momma Bear*

      Yeah, I’d be looking for a out with a boss that would rather undermine me than deal with the problem. Boss won’t let OP take care of Jan, nor will Boss do it themself…go figure.

    4. FrenchCusser*

      It just boggles my mind that organizations think they can keep good employees without compensating them.

    5. Observer*

      And they were surprised no one jumped at the opportunity?

      I’m cynical enough to think that they were NOT surprised. The fact that people didn’t jump probably probably “is a feature not a bug”.

    6. I prefer honest medicine*

      For anybody who is not familiar, Christian health sharing plans are not insurance. They are scams. Many require you to beg for a lower bill and regularly go to church.theyre also ponzi schemes. They’ve basically quadrupled the last year and should be banned and their perpetrators prosecuted.

    7. Joan Rivers*

      3 – So you didn’t run your plan past your boss BEFORE telling Jan? Is this boss throwing weight around to remind you that you should have checked in first?
      It stinks not to have your back, but then refuse to manage Jan.

      This is a squeeze play and you can’t win. Job hunting is a great idea.

      1. Frank Doyle*

        Unfortunately, while I had initially received encouragement on developing this plan, my boss did not back me up when I went to him with this update.

        Sounds like the OP did have approval from their boss when developing the plan, the boss just didn’t want the OP to actually follow through on the consequences

    8. Lynne Donnelly*

      Although I can’t speak to the other Christian health cost sharing plans (which I believe ARE quite stringent in who they let in), I joined Liberty Health Share (LHS) several years ago. As a self-employed (non-Christian) person buying my own insurance, it was by far the least expensive and had more coverage than I was used to, with a low deductible. The catch was I had to be healthy to join, which I was. It’s more like health insurance used to be when it was not-for-profit. Not ideal for everyone, i.e., someone with a pre-existing condition wouldn’t be let in. But the price was right for me.

      I had it for several years before I ever needed to use it. I had a mild heart attack and required a stent be inserted in an artery. The hospital wouldn’t accept LHS as “insurance,” so I was on the hook for the amount, which the hospital discounted because I was considered self-pay. I had to get everything submitted to LHS and it took quite a few months, but they did reimburse me for what I had to pay. And, unlike previous health insurance plans back in the old days, they didn’t drop me as a member afterwards.

      The “Christian” part was a bit off-putting to me at first, but all they asked was that I agree with their basic principles, which boiled down to “we should help each other when we need it, and we should take care of ourselves.” I was okay with that!

      Fortunately I became eligible for Medicare a few months later, just before their prices went up. They have become extremely popular, as this poster shows, and are a bit overwhelmed. They really seem to be not for profit, which is refreshing if you look at the salaries and bonuses of the CEOs of our large health insurance companies!

  2. CatCat*

    #4, so glad you were able to get a position with great pay and benefits and Organization B. I am completely flabbergasted at Organization A. They will only help pay for health insurance if you choose the plan that isn’t actually health insurance? Unbelievable! I bet they will lose a lot of employees over this.

    1. Momma Bear*

      There’s often a lot of fine print with those kinds of plans, too. I’d be very leery and very upset.

    2. Selina Luna*

      I wouldn’t stay. I have ongoing health conditions, I use birth control, and I’m not Christian and I refuse to sign a statement of faith in… well, bad faith.

      1. FrenchCusser*

        Heck, I AM a Christian and I wouldn’t sign any such thing, either.

        What does religion have to do with health coverage? Nothing, that’s what.

        1. Selina Luna*

          Nothing, plus when you consider what some places charge for blood tests, it could drive me into medical bankruptcy. I get BCBS as insurance from my job. I pay 600 per paycheck (for me and my son), but at least they then COVER my bimonthly blood tests.

          1. Kyrielle*

            Right? I got hospitalized the first of this year (for reasons not related to anything chronic, it stank and I don’t want to get into the saga) to the tune of six figures of bills. Which my insurance paid the vast majority of; even on a high-deductible plan, I hit my max out of pocket for the year when the bill for that processed through.

      2. quill*

        Yeah, I wonder what makes you not covered. Using birth control? Being unmarried? It seems like a huge risk to even consider switching over and the fact that this company was going for it is frightening in terms of “are they still solvent” and “is this an attempt to chase off member of other faiths?”

        1. Starwatcher*

          Preexisting conditions. Including arthritis. There’s an article making the rounds about a real estate agent in Massachusetts who switched to one of these Christian HSA “plans” because it was cheaper than the ACA premiums (because it isn’t insurance) and is now on the hook for her hip replacement out of pocket. They denied it for exactly that. And this is someone who reads contracts for a living, and still got caught!

    3. tink*

      even when i was particularly devout i would have balked at a “health sharing plan”… more like “rip-off plan”

      1. Artemesia*

        There are lots of stories of people getting stuck with big bills and for very necessary things like hundreds of thousands for a child’s brain surgery and the plans spend a tiny fraction of the money they take in on actual medical reimbursement.

        1. TardyTardis*

          The only reason the people I know bought into one of these was to dodge the ACA tax penalty, and were gambling on not getting sick or injured.

          1. Hannah Lee*

            If anyone buys into these because they are “gambling on not getting sick or injured” they obviously do not understand the purpose of insurance. They are better of not getting any coverage than signing up and paying money for one of these scams.

            And if they live in the US and do not think they need health insurance, not matter what their current health status is, well … I wish them well.

            And hope they don’t have other people who are dependent on them for financial or other support. Because all it takes is one other person who is a dope on the exit ramp on a highway, or backing up in the grocery store parking lot, or fiddling with the wipers in their car or one slippery black ice sidewalk to hipcheck at speed a person from ‘perfectly healthy’ status to ‘needs lots of diagnostic imaging, emergency care, follow up care and physical therapy’ status, which can get thousands of dollars pricey extraordinarily fast.

  3. Sara without an H*

    OP#3: As we say here at AAM, your boss sucks and isn’t going to change. If you can get Jan moved directly under his supervision, do so. And start job hunting in earnest, because this will only get worse. Good luck!

    1. Joan Rivers*

      Good luck finding a new job. This is how someone like “Jan” ends up getting promoted sometimes; she’s left when the dust settles. But then it’s on her to do the work.

  4. Falling Diphthong*

    *googles “What is a Christian health sharing plan?”*

    Oh nopety nope nope.

    -signed, someone recovering from my last round of cancer-related surgery

    1. Lizzo*

      I had to google this as well.

      Newsflash: Prayer doesn’t have the power to pay hospital bills.

    2. mrs__peel*

      I’m assuming it’s something like “You share all of your most private information with us, and we decide if you need to keep using immoral birth control, you hussy”.

      1. Ash*

        Not just that–they are NOT INSURANCE. They don’t actually guarantee any coverage. You could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills despite faithfully paying your premiums each month. They also are not bound by the regulations laid out by the ACA, so they can deem just about anything a pre-existing condition and deny coverage. They are basically giant scams!

          1. Anon for Today*

            Nope, because they’re not technically insurance. Your premium goes into a big bucket of money, and then the board gets together every year to decide what costs will be “shared” by that bucket of money. The only time these plans are halfway decent is if they partner with a Preferred Provider Network that contracts with a health organization that agrees to take a contractual discount. They’re terrible and people should steer clear.

            1. fhqwhgads*

              This is the part I’m confused about: they’re not insurance, so they’re not bound by the ACA, but they supposedly exist so companies can say they “offer insurance”…to comply with the ACA. How….how is that a thing?

              1. Orangefloss*

                Republican lawmakers carved a loophole in the ACA intentionally to allow these sorts of scams to exist. The “Christian” Health Share Ministries perfectly plug that loophole.

                This is by design.

        1. Starwatcher*

          Just read an article about this two days ago! Arthritis is a preexisting condition, so you’re on the hook for your hip surgery, suckers!

    3. drinking Mello Yello*

      I work in medical billing and I absolutely Hate seeing these show up. They’re Not-Insurance scams acting as insurance, they pay providers absolute garbage compared to actual insurance providers (including notoriously stingy ones like Medicaid), and cover Jack Squat. Need STI testing? Oops, that’s *~immoral~*. Never mind that even people who are Married and Christian get cheated on or assaulted. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ These scams plaster all their paperwork with *~uplifting and positive~* Christian messaging and do everything in their power to leave their customers dead. Even more so than actual insurance providers.

      1. Elizabeth*

        At my prior employer, we refused to bill the Christian health-sharing “plans”. We bill insurance. These are not insurance. We will mark you as self-pay, and we will bill you. It is up to you to figure out how to get reimbursed by the health “plan”. We refused to go down the rat’s nest of dealing with those.

  5. Sara without an H*

    OP#4, Christian health sharing plans can be options for small churches that would otherwise not be able to afford employee health insurance. The key word here is “churches.” Your former employers weren’t devout, just cheap. I’m not surprised that turnover has picked up there and I’ll go out on a limb and predict that it’s going to continue to increase in the future as the economy picks up.

    Congratulations on your new job!

    1. F*

      Why, because people who work for churches don’t need the same, full healthcare that everyone else does?

      1. Chinook*

        More like they think their staff should take a vow of poverty and not use the congregations’ money for personal reasons (insert eyeroll here). There is always the chance that some of those churches/parishes can’t raise enough money to fix the roof, never mind pay their employees (which is especially true in poor communities where the alternative would be self-insuring their employees or offering nothing), but I suspect it is usually based on the idea that employees should feel good about sacrificing for God. They also seem to forget that a “living wage” is an important part of the social justice cause and that those principles need to be applied at home first.

      2. Ash*

        Exactly. No one should ever try to justify these BS “health plans” that are not actually insurance.

    2. FrenchCusser*

      It seems that the smaller the pool, the greater the risk, though.

      You’re signing up to cover your coworkers’ medical bills, without the discounts and price negotiations that are part of a real health insurance plan.

      So if someone gets seriously ill, not only they can go bankrupt, but so can everyone else in the plan. Nope, nope, nopey, nope, nope.

      I had my gallbladder out and an overnight hospital stay last year, and the ‘raw’ bill was over $44,000, but my out of pocket from my employer’s plan was $2900. No way is a ‘health sharing’ plan comparable to insurance.

      1. mrs__peel*

        I immediately thought of the old letter where the company was sending out emails shaming an employee who (can’t remember exactly) had a wife with advanced cancer or a premature baby, because of the treatment cost and the fact that the employer’s health care costs were going to go up.

        1. 2 cents*

          Amazon. Amazon sent out an email to a division (or something) shaming someone for their medical costs because they had a premature baby and healthcare costs were $1 million. Amazon. Amazon.

          1. 2 cents*

            Also a hospital tried to make one of its own nurses pay the $1 million for the birth of her child

          2. NeutralJanet*

            I immediately thought of the AOL story where then-CEO Tim Armstrong said they were cutting back on retirement benefits because there were two “distressed babies” born that year, and I am horrified to hear that that happened elsewhere as well!

      2. Mental Lentil*

        It seems that the smaller the pool, the greater the risk, though.

        Which is why I support a single payer system.

        1. Artemesia*

          This. IN France they spend half what we do per capita; everyone is covered; no one is paying $3000 out of pocket for their gal bladder surgery and thinking that is ‘good’.

          1. Gamer Girl*

            Yes, we contribute to a variety of social charges over here (funding unemployment, health insurance, retirement, disability…) directly out of our paycheck. That is a big piece of it. But also, there are regulations on how much medical acts cost. I freaked out when I had to take an ambulance once because I became so ill at work they called one trip take me to the hospital. Total cost? 90 euros without insurance. 0 euros with health insurance.

            My mom came over here to have surgery because the cost of the plane tickets (1500) plus the surgery, meds, pre and post appointments, and hospital fees out of pocket (550) were less than her deductible back home in the US (6k!!!)

    3. Brooklyn*

      I’m tired of exceptions for churches. If you can’t afford health insurance, you can’t afford to hire people. Make do with less or figure out how to raise the money. Same with all religious exemptions – if your faith does not allow for women to serve as clergy members, your church doesn’t belong in this country or this century. Reform or leave. I don’t understand why we act like this is normal and not the regressive, conservative nonsense it proudly is.

  6. Momma Bear*

    OP #4 – Glad to hear 2021 has been good to you! Sounds like reaching out to Company B was perfect timing.

  7. Antilles*

    For #4, Organization A has done the following: (1) cancelled retirement benefits, (2) canceled health benefits, (3) is actively encouraging employees to get health benefits elsewhere which directly gets employees thinking about how your company compares to employment elsewhere, and (4) apparently has no plans to return any of those previous items to normal.
    OP#4 can say that the company hasn’t lost revenue and obviously OP#4 would know better than us…but to my outsider eyes, this looks like a company circling the drain financially.

    1. Kyrielle*

      Agreed, but also, if they aren’t, they will be once they bleed off all the talent that is looking for anywhere to be that has better benefits and pay that isn’t much worse (and seeing a lot of options).

      1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        I devoutly hope that there are/were mass resignations over this. It’s absolutely outrageous, and they DESERVE to lost most of their staff. Who runs that place anyway, the Grinch?

    2. Wants Green Things*

      In high school, I worked about 6 months for a small, at-the-time highly respected business in my town. The owner was making very good money. And then, he decided to eliminate the 4 of the 6 full time positions and replace them with part-time high schoolers (which is how I got hired) because he wouldn’t have to pay insurance, retirement, or career training.

      Let’s just say public opinion turned *fast* once that became known. The business folded in a year, all because he got greedy.

    3. FrivYeti*

      I may be suspicious, but I think it sounds like an organization attempting to use a rough period for everyone to massively goose their profits, trusting that their employees are over a barrel and won’t be able to quit and find a better job elsewhere.

      I think that the net effect will be that they will go from very profitable to circling the drain pretty quickly, but I don’t think it indicates that trouble has already arrived.

    4. Observer*

      I agree with the others – this doesn’t sound like a company circling the drain YET. It sounds like a company about to head in that direction.

    5. quill*

      That or they’re going to sell off in a deal that will cut out all the workers, but they want to make it look VERY profitable short term…

    1. rachel in nyc*

      gotta love: defines preexisting condition broadly: “Any sickness or injury for which a member received medical treatment, advice, care or services, including diagnostic measures, took prescribed drugs or showed signs and symptoms, whether treated or not.”

            1. 10Isee*

              “Look, you’re the one who chose to inhabit a corporeal form; any issues arising from that choice are YOUR responsibility.”

      1. NeutralJanet*

        This woman was told the day before getting a $75K double hip-replacement surgery that the surgery wasn’t going to be covered because she had a “pre-existing condition”. The pre-existing condition was that two years earlier, she mentioned to her PCP that she had some pain in her hips, and he wrote it in his notes but didn’t order any kind of treatment or diagnostic tests. Her pain is normal, degenerative stuff caused by aging, not a specific disease or anything, but because she was aware of it two years ago, it’s not covered.

    2. Starwatcher*

      Yes! That one! What a coincidence that this letter came in the same week this came out – it must be a sign from Above ;-)

  8. Bilateralrope*

    The only insurance-like thing they will pay for requires a statement of faith. Is that religious discrimination ?

    Good thing you got out.

  9. ???*

    While I disagree with what organization A to is doing, it’s not fair to the employees or the christian health care ministry, christian health care ministries aren’t all that bad. To be honest I would rather be on Christian health care plan than on our crappy health insurance plan. My SIL has a Christian health care ministry plan and pretty much reimburses her for all her (and her kids) health care including a midwife, my family’s health insurance that costs my husband’s employer $24k, covers next to nothing. So if they would swap to a health care ministry I would be thrilled.

      1. LapsedKnitter*

        You’d be thrilled until approximately five minutes after you or anyone in your family has any sort of medical issue because at that point, you are screwed.

        reposting this article because really. Just read it.

        If you compare the cost of co-op cost sharing to the cost of actual health insurance, they yes, it is true that the former is cheaper. That’s because it doesn’t cover anything expensive.

      2. Artemesia*

        24 K might cover the costs for your kid’s broken arm — maybe. If anyone gets cancer you are looking at 100s of K. And Christian health plans are notorious for simply not covering expensive procedures like cancer treatment or serious childrens’ health issues.

        The hospital cost for an outpatient surgery to remove surgical wires in my elbow from surgery I had for an accident in France a year before was $18,000. outpatient. removing wires. no hospital stay. local anesthesia. With insurance it cost me about 2K. 24K is chump change if you actually have a health crisis

        1. Artemesia*

          10 years ago my friend’s college age son broke a wrist — the bills for that were over 44K — she had good insurance which covered him, but it still cost them a bundle.

          1. CatMintCat*

            You do realise that it doesn’t actually COST that much, don’t you? The figures in US medical care are hugely, hugely inflated by the greed of your insurance industry.

            The real cost is exponentially lower. https://www.finder.com.au/the-real-costs-of-sports-injuries shows the average cost of a broken arm/wrist in Australia to be $3,371. Even with that as an average, I can’t see any way mathematically that the highest would be $44,000.

            1. BookishMiss*

              It does actually cost that much in the US because that is what medical providers are allowed to bill.

              Whether it SHOULD cost that much is an entirely different discussion, where comparisons with other countries with more civilized systems become relevant.

              1. AnonRonRon*

                This. Cost is set by the market, and the healthcare billing market in America is totally out of control. If you have good insurance, much of that $44K will be negotiated down by the insurance company, but you are likely to still have to pay thousands of dollars in co-pays and deductibles, and it’s all starting from the sticker price set by the provider. If you don’t have good (or any) insurance, you are even more screwed. (That’s not even touching billing errors, insurance company denials, convoluted appeals processes, out-of-network providers at an in-network hospital, surprise billing, and all the other terrible practices of the industry.)

            2. Foof*

              I’m going to guess there was more going on than just xrays and splinting; even in the usa that sounds 10x too high; sounds like specialty (ortho) surgery

            3. TakiTaki*

              I’m thinking that a compound fracture or a break requiring pins and surgery is the only way it would cost that much. A simple fracture wouldn’t be anywhere near that much. It had to have been a complete break or a shatter to cost that much. I broke mine (simple fracture, healed in a few weeks) and it cost around 4k, and that’s including ambulance.

    1. FrenchCusser*

      You’re sticking your coworkers with your medical bills on one of those plans. The ‘company’ is taking your money but giving nothing in return.

      Just because crappy insurance exists is not an excuse to do without insurance at all.

    2. mrs__peel*

      Granted, I was raised to be annoyingly stubborn about The Principle of the Thing, but I’d rather quit and find another job than be forced to sign a BS religious loyalty oath at work.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        I’m a Christian, and I would rather quit and find another job rather than be forced to signed a religious loyalty oath at work. Because in my mind, my faith, my religious practice should have absolutely ZERO to do with my employer – employee work relationship. There are laws that define a worker-employer relationship. Just as I wouldn’t want my cube-mate’s particular faith to define how I’m treated at work, I don’t want the business owner’s or even my particular faith to define employer-employee working relationships.

        If I’m working at a place that has practices that violate tenets of my faith, I will leave and find a different job (and if their practices violate the law of the municipality I live in, I will happily drop a dime to the authorities on my way out the door … because NO COMPANY can pay me enough to be complicit with law breaking and potentially going to jail so that owners, shareholders can try to make a buck)

        These so called ‘faith based’ care share programs are just a smoke screen for financial service companies to partner with business owners who want to maximize profits and do so by bilking gullible and/or greedy people.

    3. Rainy*

      Her company is requiring it if it’s recommended by the quote-unquote consultant, won’t pay for anything else, and the “plan” (I use the term SO loosely) requires some kind of religious loyalty statement.

      Yeah, I think it’s EXACTLY that bad.

    4. Jenny in SF*

      You’re absolutely out of your mind here. These “Christian health plans” are an absolute grift.

      1. Corel*

        Honestly. The number of grifters and confidence men, scammers, snake-oil salesmen, straight-up thieves and parasites that advertise as “Christian” or “Evangelical” is unreal. It’s almost a rule.

        A businessman is beating their breast about how “Christian” they are? You’re 100% gonna get robbed. Robbed blind and kicked in the keister.

    5. Observer*

      So if they would swap to a health care ministry I would be thrilled.

      Shrug. You may not care about being required to sign a statement of faith in order to receive coverage, but it IS “that bad” to condition receipt of coverage on faith.

      Also, I don’t know what your coverage is like, but these plans don’t any better than the most garbage of plans. They just have better marketing. (They are less constrained in what they are allowed to say.)

    6. Pam Poovey*

      I mean, I’d rather have a comprehensive socialized healthcare that wasn’t tied to employment like every other developed western nation

  10. Observer*

    where they contracted with these consultants to advise employees about joining their spouses plan, getting an ACA plan, or… and this was the real problem … getting a Christian health-sharing plan. Organization A is ecumenically Christian, but employees come from a broad spectrum of beliefs and many were not on board with the idea of having something that is explicitly not health insurance and requires signing a conservative statement of faith.
    . . .
    idea was that employees would choose an “individualized” plan, and then Organization A would pay a certain percentage of the premium. However, it eventually became clear that Organization A would only contribute to the cost of health insurance if the employee chose the plan that was recommended to them by the consultant. And, of course, many employees were recommended to get the (very inexpensive, very limited coverage) Christian health-sharing plan

    Making like a fish…. So they effectively made providing benefits contingent on signing a statement of faith?!?!? Is this even legal?!

    I’m so glad you are out of there. SOMEONE there has lost their mind!

    1. Elle Woods*

      I know there are some places that can make you sign such a statement to become an employee. The ones I’ve seen are usually evangelical or religion-based institutions (mostly colleges & universities).

      1. Observer*

        It’s not legal to require a statement of faith as a condition of employment except in very narrow circumstances. The OP is not working for that kind of organization.

          1. Observer*

            Yes, a religious educational institution may condition employment on a statement of faith. It’s called the ministerial exemption.

  11. GlamorousNonprofiteer*

    Christian health sharing plan? Are we praying away [insert disease or condition here]?

    The U.S. model of employer-based health insurance is ridiculous but normalizing this as “great for X person” is just deeply broken and wrong-headed. What if the organization’s “consultant” decided that surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy wasn’t covered? Or that relapsed or refractory leukemia was due to a failure of faith, not a bone marrow failure condition likely caused by generational exposure to toxins? Or that vaccination against things like smallpox and the SARS-CoV-2 virus are really not needed and maybe we should all just pray away the global pandemic?

    Someone fetch me a large print edition of a religious text so that I might smack someone(s) upside the head with it while shouting HEALTHCARE DECISIONS ARE BETWEEN A PERSON AND THEIR TREATING PHYSICIAN.

    1. Nea*

      “What if the organization’s “consultant” decided that surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy wasn’t covered?”

      It’s absolutely guaranteed to not be covered under a conservative Christian plan because removing a pregnancy=abortion. There are many cases of conservative Catholic hospitals refusing to remove an ectopic pregnancy before the fallopian tube ruptures.

      1. mrs__peel*

        See also: many other forms of reproductive health care, end-of-life measures, etc.

  12. Nea*

    I went back and read the letters before the updates and now I’m wild to read an update on the woman who was getting “unprofessional appearance” writeups for not wearing makeup and jewelry.

      1. Pam Poovey*

        Her boss is probably one of the LWs here who were mad that employees were casual and/or braless on Zoom

  13. BlueberryFields*

    I’m glad to hear it’s going well, LW #2! (On a side note, I just had a moment of existential crisis because I was like, “Good for LW #2, but didn’t they just write in?! What a quick update!” So I went back to my comment from that question and was like, “Oh yes, this must have been a couple months ago.” It was not. It was September 2020. Time flies when you’re having…fun?)

  14. Sarah*

    So happy for OP4 but also SO peeved at Organization A. Do companies realize, especially in 2021, that revoking adequate healthcare for employees is is a incredibly bad look? I imagine a decent chunk of employees decided to look for new jobs.

  15. Woah*

    I do not understand the Christian health sharing thing. I read about it in blogs sometimes (guilty pleasure reading!) and I’m just like…no…that’s paying yours and others medical bills. just do a gofundme. easier.

  16. Wem*

    #4 This sounds horrific. Organization A can suck it with that Xtian healthcare plan. Glad you’re getting out!

  17. Chantel*

    LW1: “In the past, she [Myrtle] has brought her children to work events and left them for me to babysit (ignoring my shocked ‘No! I cannot watch them!’).”

    Just beyond disrespectful; her leaving her children with you to watch AND ignoring your nope.

    I mean, who do people think they are? Honestly…

    1. Pam Poovey*

      And you just KNOW that if LW had walked away upon saying no that any issues that happened with the kids would somehow still be her fault

      1. LW1*

        Yeah, when the elder child ran away from me, shrieking, and into the office hallway I got scolded for chasing him. (He was able to outrun me because I not only have terrible knees but becaues I was very uncomfortable with touching/restraining someone else’s child – a child I had never met before.)

  18. Pam Poovey*

    2: is Jan a friend or relative of the boss? I’m just curious, though ultimately it doesn’t matter. That place sounds toxic as hell and I’m glad you’re trying to GTFO.

  19. fhqwhgads*

    This is the part I’m confused about: they’re not insurance, so they’re not bound by the ACA, but they supposedly exist so companies can say they “offer insurance”…to comply with the ACA. How….how is that a thing?

  20. Mannequin*

    “ and then they rolled out a plan to eliminate the employer-provided group health insurance (during a PANDEMIC!) ”

    I literally gasped when I read this- that is so beyond messed up.

    Glad you are getting out of that place, OP!

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