This, as of yet unpassed, replacement for ‘Obamacare’ has a lot of opponents and its future is still uncertain. With proposed cuts to many aspects of healthcare, it is important for work compensation lawyers and people who want to file for work compensation to learn what this new proposed law entails and how it will reflect the benefits they can expect. It is not the aim of this text to criticize or promote the bill, but simply to attempt to view the consequences for the work comp.
The recent CBO report caused a lot of commotion when it was announced. It made quite a stir because it indicates that we can expect a lot of changes if it comes into effect in its proposed form. Most jarringly, insurance rates are expected to go up for some categories, mostly older and poorer groups of people. Additionally, tax credits are also expected to be cut for these people as well. There is a handy calculator for determining how your healthcare will be affected by the proposed changes.
The number of people who are expected not to be able to afford their current health care plan is estimated in millions. More accurately, 24 million.
Effects on worker compensation
Everything mentioned above is about healthcare in general. However, this bill has some unforeseen effect on the worker compensation in particular. In fact, there are several changes you can expect.
There’s no mention of work comp
The bill in its present form does not address worker compensation directly. There is simply no mention of worker compensation in the text of the (fairly short) bill. That, coupled with a lot of people not being able to afford regular health care may cause some overload of the work comp system.
All healthcare issues may be linked to work comp
Some experts are claiming that if people cannot afford healthcare, they will attempt to pass any illness or injury as a work-related problem, and get compensation, and more importantly, treatment through their employer’s insurance. What this may lead to is a complete overload of the system designed to deal specifically with work-related health issues.
Underlying problems may remain undetected
If a person without medical coverage gets ill over and over again, some employers may assume that they are just ‘milking’ the system. In some cases, this may be true. However, without access to regular medical care, some underlying illnesses may remain undetected and cause problems for these individuals. This may ultimately result in a much more severe form of the illness, causing the worker to stay away from work for longer, or even require disability benefits.
Mental health coverage
In its current form, the American Healthcare Act does not include mental health care. This is not ideal in any circumstance, but it can especially be detrimental to worker compensation. Worker compensation lawyers are aware that mental health is as important as bodily health for workers. In fact, a lot of conditions are brought on by various untreated mental problems, such as stress or anxiety issues.
It isn’t easy to predict what will happen if this bill passes, but this is a likely scenario. Some other implications are possible as well. However, work compensation lawyers are still going to fight for their clients’ rights to compensation for work-related illnesses and injuries.
The Law Offices of Thomas M. DeBenedetto is a company with over 25 years of experience in this field. Contact us for a free initial consultation.