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From London, UK:

I am a insulin dependant diabetic UK citizen thinking of relocating to the US (Philadelphia) for a new job. As I have a pre-existing condition, what if any health insurance problems can I expect? Also, what, if any, disclosure of my condition to my potential new employer would you advise? I do not feel that my diabetes impairs my ability to do the job in any respect but am concerned that prejudice might effect attitudes as to my suitability.


You have two questions about insurance, and they are separate.

  1. First, the issue of pre-existing conditions has been a problem for many people with chronic diseases. In theory, there have been insurance reforms proposed and partially implemented in the United States that should outlaw the use of this concept by health insurers, but the laws have been slow to go into effect. Until such laws are fully implemented, there are several possibilities you might find from different health plans: sometimes large businesses have negotiated contracts with their health insurance suppliers that do not include these conditions; sometimes, there is a pre-existing condition clause in the health insurance contracts that lasts a year; it's much less likely that a health plan would completely and forever exclude coverage for a pre-existing condition.

  2. Your second question is about whether to honestly tell a prospective employee that you have diabetes. It's my strong opinion that honesty is the best policy: if they ask, "Do you have diabetes?", or if they ask, "Do you have any chronic health problems?", say "Yes, I have diabetes, and I do not feel that my diabetes impairs my ability to do the job in any respect" (if that's truly your opinion); but, if they don't ask, you don't have to volunteer the information.

Original posting 2 Nov 97


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