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Monday, February 17, 2014

Expensive new drugs : Driving up the cost of worker's compensation claims?

Employers can take steps to lower their employee  insurance costs
Rising drug costs are likely to increase insurance premiums
By Molly Pearce

Business owners and employees alike should be aware that the continual rising cost of prescription medication and therapy treatments are going to have an impact on workers compensation insurance. For employers, this continual rise in medication costs will most likely result in an increase in your insurance premiums over time. For injured employees, the rising costs of treatment need to be incorporated into your workers compensation settlement.

Your recovery is what matters most

When you have been injured on the job, your top priority is to receive the medical attention and services you need to make a recovery. Even if the injury is severe and will lead to a disability, you are still entitled to receive the best care, even if that means using the newest prescriptions and therapies that have a higher cost.

According to Auger and Auger Charlotte Workers Compensation Lawyers, "while workers’ compensation is supposed to protect every worker, employers and insurers sometimes fail to live up to their legal obligations." In some cases, insurance companies will often overlook newer and more effective treatments due to the costs. When the doctor recommends these treatments they will deny the request, even if it means providing you with better health care. This is why it is always important to seek legal representation as soon as possible after your injury occurs. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance companies to make sure that you are receiving the best treatments for your injury.

When negotiating with the insurer for a settlement, your attorney must also take into account the rising costs of medical care. Since the cost for medical care will become the responsibility of the injured patient once the case is settled, it will be imperative that the injured party receives a large enough settlement to cover costs.

What employers should expect

As insurance companies continued to struggle with the rising costs of medical care they must make the decision on whether to raise premiums or cut profits. As a business owner, you already know that they will not willingly cut profits, so you can anticipate prices for your policy to continue to rise.

There are a few things that you can do to help offset these rising premiums. Working with your insurance provider, you may be able to implement several different programs at your company that will help keep premium prices lower. These may include:

• Drug free work place policy
• Random drug testing after initial hire
• Safety and training programs for all employees
• Weekly safety meetings
• Updating equipment to meet increasing safety standards
• Implementing any other safety program suggested by the insurer

Make sure that you also shop around to the different agencies offering these policies. Some insurers will provide additional discounts based on your industry, the amount of employees you have, and the median age of your employees. By working with the insurers in this manner, business owners may be able to avoid things such as reducing their work force or stagnating pay rates to cover their increasing premiums.

Overall, the rising costs of healthcare will continue to impact everyone. Insurance companies, businesses and even the employees that benefit from workers compensation policies will all feel the strain of these increasing costs.      

About the author: Concerned mother and former medical professional, Molly Pearce shares this post in the hopes that it will educate readers, both employees and business-owners, on the factors affecting today's on-the-job injury and illness claims, particularly rising healthcare expenses. The website of Auger and Auger Charlotte Workers Compensation Lawyers was a top source of legal information for Molly when she was conducting online research.  

Image license: Charles Williams, CC BY 2.0