Workers compensation insurance provided by employers is designed to offer compensation to employees who are injured on the job. This insurance helps with immediate medical expenses, physical therapy, lost wages and other costs associated with the injury.
Time limits on workers compensation benefits depend on the state. Most of the time, employers are required to cover the employee’s immediate medical bills after a claim is filed and even before it is accepted.
Different Types of Workers Compensation Benefits
Benefits offered by workers compensation cover different expenses and thus have different ways of being paid. As stated above, immediate medical bills related to the work injury, such as an ambulance or emergency medical attention, should be paid as soon as the cost occurs. Employees should not wait before filing a claim. If they receive a medical bill before filing a workers compensation insurance claim, it’s important to file one immediately with the employer. Inform the doctor or medical billing staff that you will be filing a workers compensation claim and they may send the bill directly to your employer.
Disability benefits offer compensation for expenses related to disabilities. This covers temporary partial and full disabilities as well as permanent partial and full disabilities. As with the other medical expenses, medical bills related to disabilities should be handled by an employer’s workers compensation insurance policy. Disability generally takes a longer time to determine than emergency medical attention, and thus the workers compensation claim should already be filed by the time the employee needs disability benefits. The injured employee should make sure to keep their employer and insurance agency up to date with medical needs as they arise to make sure they are covered.
Wage Replacement Benefits
Another part of benefits available through workers compensation is wage benefits. This compensation takes longer to pay out, as a claim must be filed, and a medical professional should have ruled the employee unable to work due to the injury. In many cases, a medical professional approved by the insurance provider will review the situation. Once the claim is approved, only then will the employee receive compensation for wages lost while the employee is unable to work.
How is Workers Compensation Paid?
Now that you know when to expect benefits, it’s important to know how to receive them. Medical benefits are paid to cover medical bills as they come. Disability and wage benefits, however, are a little more complicated.
Wage replacement benefits are calculated based on a percentage of the employee’s initial wages before the incident. This is usually paid in the same installments as the employee would regularly receive pay. For example, if you were normally paid biweekly, your workers compensation will also be paid biweekly.
Workers compensation will only be paid so long as its needed. Temporary disability benefits and wage replacement benefits will end once the employee is declared fit for work. In extreme cases, some employees are unable to go back to work, either at their previous job or any occupation. In these rare circumstances, benefits may be paid out for the remainder of the employee’s life.
Who Pays Workers Compensation Benefits?
Although the accident and injury may occur at work, the employer is not directly responsible for paying benefits. Instead, the insurance agency that provides their workers compensation insurance policy will provide the benefits based on the coverage purchased and premiums paid by the employer. This is one reason why nearly every employer in the U.S. is required to provide workers compensation insurance.
Be sure to speak with your employer about their workers compensation policy.