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Should Doctor or Employer Decide When You're Too Sick to Work?

If you are sick, whether it is the garden variety flu or pregnant or coping with a medical emergency, who should decide when you are too sick to work:

A. The patient
B. The doctor
C. The employer
D. The employer's disability insurance company

Should it A and then B sometimes? How about when the employer and their disability company start making these decisions? This is a neglected area of health care reform. Companies are cutting back on short term disability insurance - so instead of 70% of your salary, you might only receive 40%. This is understandable during a tough economic times.

But what if the insurance company decides you should go back to work and your doctor says you need to stay home still? And then they cut off your benefits and you are forced to sue? This whole thing appalled me.

I was stuck in a doctor's waitin groom with out a book and forced to choose between 'Seventeen Magazine', some men's fashion magazine that I had never heard of, and Smart Money. They covered this topic in some detail in their March issue.

I was pretty darned appalled when I read that insurance companies where having their case managers call people on disability at home to ask how they were feeling, would they switch doctors, etc. I realize that any benefit is subject to abuse and that employers need to cut back on costs, but when the insurance companies start calling people at home to make sure they are still really sick? Oh, please. This has got to go.

If someone is sick and their doctor agrees, why is the employer and insurance company questioning this? If you had surgery that requires recovery time or if you have cancer treatment that is too debilitating to work, that is crazy. I do realize that there are people who go out of work on back injuries and then are caught carrying around 100 lb boxes of stuff. This is a bit different.

This is another part of health care reform that needs to be looked at in detail. The insurance companies should not be telling us when we are healthy and should be back at work.


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