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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 117401
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I work for a 501c3 whose main office is in Los Angeles, but

Customer Question

I work for a 501c3 whose main office is in Los Angeles, but who also has an office (where I work) in Santa Barbara. The company's policy has always been to provide 100% free health insurance for all employees. Effective Oct. 1, we are now being told that that the only free healthcare option those of us who live in Santa Barbara have is to sign up for a plan whose nearest doctors are located an hour south of us. There is no one in town or any closer who takes this plan. We must pay out of pocket if we want in-town care. Is it legal to provide 100% local coverage for SOME employees (those in the Los Angeles office) and not for ALL employees (those of us who live in Santa Barbara)? With a drive time of two hours there and back, the "free" option is really just as costly as the plan we are being offered in town, counting drive time and gas, but they are arguing that it is still a "free" option.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
While they have to make a plan available to all employees, the law does not address whether or not the plan can make employees travel 2 hours to see a doctor. All the law says is if they offer a plan it must be to all employees and if they are offering all the employees the same plan then they are in compliance with the law. There is nothing in the law saying they have to offer different plans to anyone. So the employees have a choice here, not a good one, to take what is offered or get their own insurance, because the employer is complying with the letter of the law saying that if they provide a policy to one employee they have to provide the same plan to all employees.