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2 level fusion surgery scheduled, what do I tell my employer?

downinmyheartddowninmyheart Posts: 497
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well, I heard back from the doc and he says that physically I am a good candidate for hybrid surgery, l5-S1 fusion, and ADR at l4-l5. Problem is my insurance won't cover it, and the study that they currently have won't cover it because it is two level. If only I had just one diseased disc! Darn it!!!! #o

So, I could try and appeal the pre-determination with my insurance company. The doctor says that he has seen this take six months in my town/state/insurance and that they still may deny it. I don't like the idea of waiting six months on a maybe.

I think I am going to go with a 2 level fusion. I called the doctor to schedule it today. He says it can be done in the next 5 weeks or so.

My question now is: When do I tell my employer? I want to do right by them as I am the manager of a multimillion dollar investment. On the other hand, I don't want them to fire me so that I lose my health insurance. I need to have insurance coverage at the time of surgery. Anyone willing to offer a suggestion or thier own experience?

One Love,



  • I don't have much advice as far as your employer because I work for the Federal Government, and based on past experience I don't have to worry about my job. So, I have already told them that I will be out for a couple of months at least.

    I did want to say that I know exactly how you feel regarding wishing you only had problems at one level. I would have really liked to have the ADR as an option, but I also have problems at two levels. Based on problems that I have heard from one of the surgeons I consulted about getting insurance to approve one level, I have a feeling that it is going to be some time before we see it approved at two levels. I personally can't wait that long.

    Let us know when you have a date for the surgery.
  • I had about a 3 week notice from my doctor which made things easier. I gave a request in writing to my employer about a week ahead of time. My doctor also made sure to write the scripts for "off work until furthure notice".

    You should have some sort of employee manual which states the minimum requirements your employer accepts in regards to official medical leave. FMLA protects you for these needed absences. My manual just said as soon as you know you need to be out. My doctors notes were dated 2 days before I gave them my request for medical leave".

    They cant fire you in the mean time for no reason, but they can scour your work to see if they can justify letting you go, just by coincidence. If that would happen, you should have a good case to fight it.

    My supervisor wasnt happy with me, but I did everything by the book. Thats all you can do.

    Good luck,
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  • At this point I do not qualify for FMLA. My employer has pretty much told me that they cannot hold my position for 2-3 months. I basically don't have a job once I leave for this surgery...
  • downinmyheart said:
    At this point I do not qualify for FMLA. My employer has pretty much told me that they cannot hold my position for 2-3 months. I basically don't have a job once I leave for this surgery...
    I didnt qualify for FMLA either, this is because I was out for a month last year when I had shoulder surgery. I forget the ammount of hours you need in the last 12 months to qualify.

    It all depends what type/size of company you work for, what your rights are, and what they must allow you. I really encourage you to check with your employee manual, they may just be trying to discourage you from going out for surgery because they dont want to temporaly fill your position. Have you spoke to someone in human resources or just your supervisor, sometimes they dont know the facts.

    Are they saying if you are out for a certain ammount of time they will fire you? Have you checked if you can collect unemployment at that point? Most larger companies have some sort of short term disability program too, it might be worth asking about. You should also be able to get continueing health insurance coverage by COBRA, although this costs $$. Some companies dont need to provide this but I dont know how it is figured out.

    I guess I am lucky where I am at, I can be on income protection for 1 year. Its $70 per day, enough at least for a car payment and groceries,lol. The must save my caseload for 12 weeks, after that they can move me around, but they must keep a position for me for the 12 months.

    I hope you get it figured out,
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