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Use Worker's Comp or Health Insurance ?
Old 03-04-2012, 11:32 AM   #1
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Use Worker's Comp or Health Insurance ?

I have a recurring soreness, with numbness and tingling, in my upper back between the spine and the left shoulder blade. I think it is caused by my job. I am trying to decide if I want to report it to my employer as an on the job injury, and use worker's comp to get it checked out and possibly treated, or just use my regular health insurance. I'm also wondering what the ramifications will be for future treatment of this soreness, if I retire or get laid off before medicare, and get cobra, and then private health insurance. I'm 57 now. I am hoping that worker's comp would still cover it, after I retire, separate from any health insurance I would have, and by using worker's comp, would also have no deductibles, copays or exclusions to worry about. Thanks for any input.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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I had a work related claim years ago and filed workman's comp. They paid for everything including 2 weeks in the hospital and doctor visits for several years.

I think that you have to go to their doctor at least initially. I was able to transfer to a specialist of my choice after the first visit.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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Like FreeAtLast noted, it's not entirely your choice. A doctor has to diagnose your case, especially since it's not an obvious workplace injury. Why wouldn't you talk to your employer about it? When I was an employer, if it was clearly an injury caused in the workplace, we wouldn't try to steer an employee away from Workers Comp. Why? And the employee was covered with health insurance if it wasn't Workers Comp. I must be missing what you're getting at...
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Like FreeAtLast noted, it's not entirely your choice. A doctor has to diagnose your case, especially since it's not an obvious workplace injury. Why wouldn't you talk to your employer about it? When I was an employer, if it was clearly an injury caused in the workplace, we wouldn't try to steer an employee away from Workers Comp. Why? And the employee was covered with health insurance if it wasn't Workers Comp. I must be missing what you're getting at...
Thanks for replying, Midpack.

When applying for jobs, there is often a question asking if you have ever filed a worker's comp claim. I've heard that employers try to avoid hiring anyone who has done so. I also have heard that worker's comp claims cost the employer more than a health insurance claim, and that people who get injured often, and use workers comp, end up getting fired. May not be true, but it's what I've heard.

But I've also heard of many people using worker's comp and having good results, keeping the current job, and having no problems getting hired somewhere else later. I suppose I'm just being cautious.

One big benefit from having a condition deemed work-related would be the ability to get treatment for the condition paid for 100 %, no copays or deductibles, by workers comp even after leaving the employer. And I would suppose this would be an expense to the employer, through increased wc premiums.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by John Galt III View Post
When applying for jobs, there is often a question asking if you have ever filed a worker's comp claim. I've heard that employers try to avoid hiring anyone who has done so. I also have heard that worker's comp claims cost the employer more than a health insurance claim, and that people who get injured often, and use workers comp, end up getting fired. May not be true, but it's what I've heard.
Having hired hundreds of people, I can tell you that would be illegal. If you're asked, you don't want to work at that employer IMO, and I'd encourage you to turn them in. From the EEOC website...
Quote:
9. What are examples of questions that an employer cannot ask on an application or during an interview?

Examples of prohibited questions during the pre-offer period include:

Do you have a heart condition? Do you have asthma or any other difficulties breathing?
Do you have a disability which would interfere with your ability to perform the job?
How many days were you sick last year?
Have you ever filed for workers' compensation? Have you ever been injured on the job?
Have you ever been treated for mental health problems?
What prescription drugs are you currently taking?
http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/jobapplicant.html
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:39 PM   #6
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talk to your employer then go see a doctor. You may have to see a specific MD depending on your state or employer. You may be able to see anyyone. There is probably a state website you could look at to tell you the rules. Tell the doctor exactly why you think it could be workers comp and let him decide.
Be prepared to be examined by a workers comp MD, and from my experience did a cursory examination then did a very long report that included much that he did not do. I had a minor injury that resolved himself but the whole experience was sickening. Also, be aware that workers comp may try not to pay, may make you go to court and may even do surveillance to determine if your reports of pain or loss of function are accurate.

Why do you think that so many attorneys are on TV and advertising all over to use their services?

However if it truly is workers comp and truly is an injury then you should do the right thing and report it as workers comp.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Having hired hundreds of people, I can tell you that would be illegal. If you're asked, you don't want to work at that employer IMO, and I'd encourage you to turn them in. From the EEOC website...
Job Applicants and the Americans With Disabilities Act
There is no shortage of companies who provide "background checks" for employers which include information on workman's comp claims.
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:34 PM   #8
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It is best to let your employer know what is going on and proceed with the workman's comp claim. Your employer will then know that it might not be possible for you to do some of the activities of your job such as bending and lifting for a period of time.

They will also understand that you are injured and are not slacking off on the job if you can't work as fast or can't perform everything that is required.
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