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Worker’s compensation can be defined as an insurance sum paid by the employers to the employees in case of an accident. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, No payroll deductions from the employee’s salary can be made for this insurance. If an employee is injured while on the job or acquires a work-related illness, worker’s compensation should cover the medical expenses. If the employee can work, it should include wage loss compensation until the employee is fit to work again.
While these are stated by a written law passed by the government, no body of law remains static, and this applies to the worker’s compensation law as well. As regulations and requirements change, and more legal precedence is set, it is essential for those affected to understand the changing landscape. Here are a few emerging trends in the worker’s compensation sector as we step into the new decade.
In many states, presumption laws have been enacted to benefit first responders such as firefighters, paramedics/ EMTs, and police officers. These laws remove the burden of proof from someone suffering from a disease and seeking worker’s compensation. Under this law, it is assumed that the employee has contracted the disease, in this case, heart/ lung disease, cancer, or PTSD, while at work. This trend is expected to expand into other sectors and cover professionals like fire truck mechanics, teachers, and correctional officers.
A drug formulary is the list of prescription drugs, generic or brand name, approved by the company’s worker’s compensation policy. This means the worker’s compensation may only reimburse for medications under this list. This trend has caught up with most states now. They often specify which drug may be prescribed, enforce limitations, and restrict interaction with other medications, which may be dangerous. Studies have shown that drug formularies have saved insurance companies over USD 1.1 billion over eight years.
Many states have legalized the use of marijuana to treat various diseases, PTSD and chronic pain. It is essential to check for marijuana in drug formularies in different states. These standards are expected to change based on future research on the side effects and effectiveness, the legality of home cultivation, and open container laws. This is a murky issue as marijuana, even for medical purposes, is still illegal on a Federal level.