Prior to the 2010 implementation of the Affordable Care Act, it was estimated that approximately 40 million Americans were uninsured in the United States. In a majority of cases, those who sought medical treatment for injuries or illness struggled to make payments or could not pay at all. In other cases, the cost was too much, forcing people to make the difficult decision to not seek medical help at all.
But even without private health insurance, many people across the nation, including here in Ohio, could still seek medical attention for injuries as long as they were work related. This is thanks to many state’s workers’ compensation laws that help cover medical costs and other expenses that result from work-related injuries.
This leads us into the question we pose in this week’s blog post: has the ACA had an impact on workers’ compensation claims? Though this question is continually up for debate among so-called experts, there are some trends our readers may see across the nation. Let’s take a look.
One trend is the shift towards more visits with a primary-care doctor for chronic conditions. Access to affordable health insurance has made these visits possible. In some cases, these visits can indicate the possibility of future injury, thereby preventing it from happening and becoming a future claim for workers’ compensation.
Though not a trend, the ACA has given access to affordable health care when access to workers’ compensation benefits have been denied — a bonus some of our readers have enjoyed since 2010.
Although many would agree that the ACA could help strengthen the workers’ compensation system on a whole, some point out the likelihood of increased scrutiny on claims now, especially to prevent cases of fraud. This could create more headaches for applicants, which is a fact that may continue to necessitate the need for skilled lawyers knowledgeable in workers’ compensation law.
Source: Workerscompensation.com, “Impact of Healthcare Reform on Workers’ compensation,” Dec. 2, 2014