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Question about ethical workplace practices regarding healthcare

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Texas

A lot of in Texas with our company just a 30 dollar semi-monthly increase in our payroll deduction for health insurance, others saw 15 dollars.

The issue is that one they didn't inform us during open enrollment that keeping our options the same would cause an increase in premiums, but I don't know if that's required or not.

The 2nd issue is that in an email dated back in October, they had one sentence in the body stating we would save 30 dollars monthly for filling out an attestation non-tobacco usage.

The first problem is it didn't say our current rates would increase for not filling it out by 30 dollars per month. The 2nd problem is that when we filled out the online form to enroll, we didn't indicate that we were tobacco users to begin with, so we already are registered as not having used tobacco recently anyway, and if this was such an important form to fill out, they would have called an enterprise wide meeting to tell us about it and not just snuck it in an email.

I've emailed the benefits desk at our company with no response so far.

This to me seems to be an ethics violation because they deliberately put it in an email that looked like a brief announcement reminding us of open enrollment that they knew few people were gonna read unless they were planning on changing coverage. That just seems like an unethical way to justify charging more money as they can't say they're charging more for smoking or tobacco when we didn't indicate we were using tobacco in the first place.

I was gonna tell them I was gonna file a complaint maybe to the BBB or another organization over that if they didn't take it off as it's an unethical charge. I didn't wanna cause commotion at work, but they can't fire someone for reporting an ethics violation the workplace as that's against the law.


I'm a Northern Girl
First off, the BBB has no regulatory authority. Making a complaint to the BBB Is not a protected activity.

As a long time benefits person who has gone through more open enrollments than I care to admit, it is well known that no matter how prominently we showcase some information, there are always going to be those who don't read it and then swear they were never told.

But until you hear back from your benefits office, there's really not a lot to say. When you hear back from them, post back with their answer. Until then, I strongly recommend you go back and look at ALL the Open Enrollment materials again.


Junior Member
The open enrollment just makes a one line remark about how we could reduce our premiums by filling out an attestation to no tobacco usage. They already ask you upon enrolling for any health insurance plan in the country if you use tobacco anyway, so putting out an extra form hidden in what looks like a spam email seems a bit unethical to me. They also didn't say they'd raise our premiums for not filling it out.


I'm a Northern Girl
Did you really think the premiums were going to remain the same from year to year?

In any case, come back when you have the answer from your benefits office.

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
What is the name of your state? Texas

...but they can't fire someone for reporting an ethics violation the workplace as that's against the law.
That's not true, and it's important that employees understand that. Ethics and violations of the law are two different things. Reporting most violations of the law by your employer to the proper agency that handles that type of crime is often a protected activity. But you want to check the law first to be sure because it is not the case that even all reports of crimes by your employer necessarily will keep you from getting fired. There are gaps in the federal and state laws that provide employee protection. In general, though, if the activity of the employer is legal but simply seems to you to be an ethical issue, you risk your job complaining about it because companies may generally fire complaining employees so long as that specific kind of complaint is not protected by law. Research what you want to report first to see what kind of protection, if any, you'll have if you start complaining about it.


Junior Member
Well, I'm not so sure it's against the law, but it's rather silly and seems more like a bait and switch tactic. You already indicate on your enrollment if you use tobacco or regularly engaging in dangerous recreational or athletic activities.

For them to in addition put in that we will receive a discount for attesting that we don't smoke when we already in the enrollment stated that information provided including not smoking was true under the penalty of insurance fraud is unfair, unjust, and quite frankly disturbing. That makes as much sense as having someone fill out a form that they don't rollerblade on ramps and hiding it in a junk email and raising their rates for not filling it out.

I'm not saying that it's worth risking losing my job over 30 dollars, but they still shouldn't get away with it or think that's okay what they did.
Different employees may have other terms of their employment. Some may have negotiated different benefits including different amounts of vacation, different levels of employee contribution on insurance, cell phones, cars, etc. Just because different employees saw different levels of increase does not mean anything is wrong,

Your employer did inform you that filling out a form would save you $30 a month via email. You either did not read it or read it and blew it off. They don't have to tell you 5 different ways.

That said, offering feedback to your employer that you would like such information to be delivered at a meeting may change how it is presented in the future.

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