Companies in Texas and Oklahoma are opting out of their state’s worker’s compensation plans in record numbers in an attempt to save money on insurance premiums. Rewriting the worker’s compensation policies for large companies like Walmart and Costco has afforded companies lower premiums, but in some cases it’s the injured workers themselves who are paying the price for all that savings.
When a company opts out of a state’s requirements for worker’s compensation, they opt to buy private insurance policies that cost a fraction of what they were paying but provide less in the way of coverage for injuries, have more restrictive terms, or do not provide legal oversight to insure that the injured person’s rights are protected in case of a dispute. These policies are great for the employer, but sometimes leave disabled workers financially destitute when they learn that they cannot afford the required medical treatment because the surgical procedure isn’t covered. Here are just a few examples of actual medical situations where injured employees were harmed by their company’s new worker’s compensation plan.
Time Limit to Report The Injury
Injuries whose symptoms don’t appear immediately after an injury. Many companies require a worker to report the injuries within 24 hours. Some debilitating back injuries start as a simple twinge that you’d hardly notice at first but the person will wake up the next day or two days later unable to move a muscle and eventually require surgery and physical therapy. If the injury wasn’t reported immediately, i.e., the day it occurred, the company may not pay for the surgery citing the time limitation to report the injury.
Coverage limited to Two Years
Another critical unresolved issue with the new private plans is the time period within which the company will pay for treatment after an injury. Ongoing medical treatment is often needed months or years after a person initially undergoes surgery. Sometimes a related and much greater surgery is needed and companies may impose a 2 year limitation on paying benefits. Also most companies no longer pay for permanent disability or limit the amount they’ll pay for catastrophic injuries.
Frequently Occurring Injuries No Longer Covered
Certain injuries are unique to a particular industry and are no longer covered by the company’s new worker’s compensation plan. Companies are able to re-write their individual insurance plans to exclude the injuries that are most likely to occur due to the unique work environment. For example, staff or viral infection may be excluded by nursing home or medical treatment companies and repetitive motion injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome can be excluded from assembly-line companies.
These are just a sampling of the problems that workers are having in getting the treatments they need due to work-related injuries in Texas and Oklahoma. If you have been injured on the job and are having difficulty getting payment for the costs of medical treatment you need give our worker’s compensation law firm a call.