New York workers take note: the health care reform bill has been signed into law, and it will affect workers’ compensation claims costs. According to those familiar with the bill, there will be direct and indirect impacts on workers’ comp costs.
More workers’ comp claims – or less?
Some theorize that fewer workers may file for workers’ compensation claims once they have non-work related health coverage per the new health care reform bill. Right now, critics of the workers’ comp system say that some injured workers claim they were hurt on the job when they really weren’t because they don’t have health insurance and are trying to get medical coverage for non-work related issues.
A competing theory is that workers’ comp claims will go up for the same reason. Workers without health insurance are less likely to file a workers’ comp claim because if they seek medical care that isn’t reimbursed they’re stuck with the costs. However, once workers have healthcare under the reform they will be more willing to seek healthcare, because treatment would be covered whether their workers’ comp claim was approved or not.
New fees could make employers more likely to cheat the system
New fees for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers will be imposed, which will likely be passed on to workers’ compensation insurance policy holders – your employer. And if your employer is being squeezed for more money to insure workers, there will be greater pressure to commit fraud. This is not good news for New York workers, especially those in low paying, high risk jobs.
Healthy workers are safer workers?
Finally, wellness programs in the health care bill may lead to fewer workers comp claims, which would save the system money. The theory is that if these wellness programs work, workers will be healthier and less likely to injure themselves on the job.
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