Why Should I Use Workers Compensation Insurance for an Injury at Work if I Have Private Insurance
Many of us know the hassle workers compensation claims can bring into our lives. This stress can lead some to ask, “Why bother?” Why try to treat a work injury through workers compensation when you can take care of it through your private health insurance?
Believe me when I say, I understand. When we are injured, none of us want stress. We want to get better. With that in mind, here are a few reasons why filing a workers compensation claim may be worth the hassle:
1. Work Injuries Should be Reported. I know. This is not the most motivating reason, but it is true. If you are injured on the job, you ought to file a workers compensation claim. That is why we have the insurance. Besides, you will always have your private insurance as a back-up. If the claim is denied, then you can use your private insurance.
2. No Co-Pays or Deductible. It is nice to receive medical care without the worry of receiving a bill in the mail. Almost all of us have co-pays and deductibles to worry about, but in a workers compensation claim, your medical bills are covered at no additional expense to you – no copays, no deductibles.
3. Disability Checks. These checks are known as time-loss checks. Oregon workers compensation will pay you 66% of your average weekly wage for the time you are off work due to the work injury.
4. Permanent Disability Award. At the end of your claim, you may qualify for a lump sum payment. This payment is based on the amount of permanent impairment that results from the work injury. Oregon law dictates how much you will receive and it depends on the seriousness of your injury.
5. Retraining. In Oregon, if you are unable to return to the job you were performing before you were hurt, you might qualify for retraining. If you meet the requirements, the workers compensation insurance will pay for the retraining.
6. Preferred Worker Program. If you are unable to return to your job because of permanent physical restrictions, you may qualify for this program. This program offers incentives to employers to hire an injured worker – such as an exemption from paying workers compensation premiums on an injured worker for 3 years.
So far, I have not found a private health insurance that offers these benefits. Please remember that Oregon has legislatively enforced these benefits for a reason and you make contributions to this benefit through each paycheck.
Although it can be a hassle, there are benefits available that may be worth the effort. The good news is there are experts available to assist you. The Ombudsmen at the Oregon Workers Compensation Division is a great resource. Attorneys are also great resources. Their practice is contingency based which means that you will never receive a bill for attorney fees – there is no fee unless they help you recover. An attorney’s expertise can assist injured workers maximize their benefit and avoid pitfalls.
If you are injured at work, consider the benefits of the workers compensation insurance before passing it on to yourself or your private insurance.