Although there isn’t a direct correlation between the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and workers’ compensation, experts speculate that the health reform will have many indirect ramifications. With the overall goal of making healthcare accessible and affordable to all, the law has the potential to have both a positive and negative impact on the system.
Potential Negative Impact:
In a recent report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Center for Workforce Studies, it is projected that the country will face a shortage in primary care physicians (PCPs) of 45,400 by 2020. This could lead to an increase in the cost of labor, tests, and other services.
Similarly, workers’ compensation patients could experience an increase in wait times for appointments with PCPs, tests, and physical therapy for work-related injuries. Workers’ comp carriers depend on injured workers receiving the quality care they need in a timely manner, in order to get them back to work quickly and off wage indemnity payments.
Even with the expansion of health insurance, workers who are injured off the job could still be tempted to falsely state that the incident is work-related. The benefits can seem more appealing than those offered through the ACA, due to the fact that there are no deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses to patients.
Potential Positive Impact:
Under the ACA a significant growth of newly insured Americans is predicted to yield a healthier workforce. Accessibility to regular checkups will allow people to address minor health issues early on and seek treatment for any chronic medical conditions.
With these anticipated changes to come, employers need to be vigilant in their claims procedure and work closely with their insurance advisor to help reduce workers’ compensation costs.
To schedule an audit of your workers’ compensation policy, contact McGrath Insurance Group at 800-342-3859 or visit www.mcgrathinsurance.com.
*This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice.