If you have health insurance coverage through your employer, your human resources (HR) department can be a helpful resource for you.

How your employer can help you choose your plan

Your HR department is a key player on the team that helps select insurance and other benefits your employer provides. Because they are part of these conversations, they can be a very helpful health insurance advocate in understanding your coverage. Sometimes they will help you personally, and other times they can refer you to someone who can provide more guidance, like a health insurance broker or agent who can help with more specific questions about the plans being offered.

The How to Choose an Insurance Plan section has many considerations you should take into account when choosing a health insurance plan. With that background in mind, make sure to talk to your HR department about your T1D-specific needs and any questions you may have about how a plan may affect your care or finances.

Another reason that HR team members are a good resource for these types of questions is that they are often trained to handle confidential information. While you may not feel comfortable revealing specifics of your condition, or that of a loved one, some information can be helpful when they are assisting you with your health coverage needs. So be confident in knowing that the HR professional you speak to will protect your privacy while advocating for your needs. And you should also take comfort knowing you are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on the health status or condition of an employee or their family member.

To get the conversation going with your HR contact, feel free to use the sample emails below and customize with only the details you feel comfortable sharing. Remember, there are no silly questions when it comes to things that affect your health, so you should feel comfortable seeking out the information you need.

Important note:

Some employers may have had the option to include an additional list of preventive medications, like insulin, in their plan offerings. Inclusion of insulin on this list will allow you to have access to insulin as part of a preventive service that will not be subject to your deductible. It is worth asking your HR department if this list is included in the set of plans being offered.

My HR representative helped me find my current policy and the most relevant areas and compared my options at open enrollment.”

T1D patient


How your employer can advocate for future plan decisions

Beyond helping you understand the details of your plan, your HR department may also offer support as you begin to use services once you’re covered. For example, you may find in using your plan that it doesn’t fully meet your T1D treatment needs in the ways your treatments or medications are prescribed. Because employers may choose to work with different health insurance companies or change the plan options they offer each year, that is useful information for them to know for future planning.

While you may not be able to change your plan this year, sharing important coverage considerations critical for a person with T1D could help influence future decisions by your employer regarding the type of coverage available to employees. A sample email is provided below to help you begin a conversation with your employer about how it can choose coverage options that work best for your T1D needs.

How your employer can help you navigate unexpected problems

Finally, if you encounter challenges with treatments or services, especially if they appear to be covered in your plan, your human resources department may be willing to reach out on your behalf to gather more detail as your insurance claim advocate.

  • If you work for a fairly large employer (100-plus employees), it may likely have more leverage (as a self-insured employer) over the benefit structure and in advocating for certain coverage.
  • Your employer may also be able to assist you in the appeals process by providing a letter of support.