Does Health Insurance Cover Work-Related Injuries?
Who are you and what do you do? These are often the first questions we ask when meeting someone for the first time. Today, many of us define ourselves by our jobs. Our workplace is also the location where we find mentors and create lasting bonds of friendship.
Therefore, when you are injured on the job, it can leave you feeling not only hurt but also lost and confused. Perhaps one of the most important facts you need to know is whether your health insurance will cover work-related injuries.
What steps should you take if you are hurt on the job?
You do your best to follow the safety rules of your job to ensure the wellbeing of yourself and fellow employees. However, even in the most careful workplaces, accidents can happen.
There are more than enough organizations to help you with the legal issues involved, but very few that you can go to to discuss insurance needs. It might be beneficial to remember a few key points if you are ever injured on the job.
The first thing you should do is to pay attention to any pain you are experiencing, even if it seems insignificant in the beginning, and report it. It is also crucial to prevent any further injury merely because you are worried about your job or don’t want to be accused of not pulling your weight around the office. If you are asked to do something but it causes you pain, speak up. Third, you should not delay in getting medical attention.
You should also be sure to report every area where safety can be improved or conditions that are just accidents waiting to happen. Maintain a written record of all safety issues. An ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.
Does health insurance always cover work-related injuries?
Any American business with ten or more workers must follow the reporting guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, a branch of the United States Department of Labor. There are forms to complete and a structure with which to comply.
Each year, there are more than three million reports of injuries on the job. This amounts to approximately three incidents for every 100 employees in the workforce today. It has resulted in lost wages and productivity, as well as doctor visits and healthcare costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, businesses spend more thaN $70 billion on workers compensation insurance per year.
On a personal level, there are more pressing concerns, such as how many people are hurt, how they were injured, and whether hospitalization is necessary. Sometimes, people miss work days due to sickness or bed rest. Other times, employees are unable to continue performing their job and must be re-assigned or stop working altogether.
Health insurance companies do not always cover work-related injuries. This service is usually provided by your employer through workers compensation. Most businesses typically have some sort of workers compensation insurance to cover such situations.
All personal health insurance policies are different. You can talk to your health insurance representative to find out if your particular injury is covered.
What qualifies as a work-related injury?
When most people think of on-the-job injuries, fields such as construction, farming, and manufacturing often come to mind. Nevertheless, workplace injuries can occur in practically any sector, from computing and food services to education and government.
Each day, we are faced with a variety of opportunities to be hurt at work, from chemical burns to repetitive stress injuries. These injuries can range from minor, such as tripping on a step, to major, like falling off a house. There are so many different types of workplace injuries that it is almost impossible to name them all.
According to OSHA, an injury is considered “to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness.”
A workplace is defined as anywhere that at least one person is required to be while performing a specific job or function. You don’t have to be in a building or suffer a fall in order to qualify. If you are driving a truck across country or handling hazardous materials when you are hurt, it is still considered a workplace injury.
As with most matters, there are always exceptions. For instance, if you were injured while just visiting your workplace, perhaps to see a friend, it would not meet the criteria. Also, if you were doing some extracurricular activity not directly related to your employment, such as cooking your lunch, any resulting injury would not be eligible. It is best to consult your employee handbook, workplace policy, or even materials from the Department of Labor for more detailed information.