by Karl Voigt
Today, June 28, 2012, the US Supreme Court upheld as Constitutional all provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare”. So what does it mean to workers’ compensation recipients?
Today’s news is of particular interest to those workers’ compensation claimants who have been out of work for some time. Many — perhaps most — of them have had their health insurance policies canceled by their employers, leaving them with no health insurance coverage. Unfortunately, under workers’ compensation law, an employer is not obligated to keep health insurance going if an employee is out of work for an extended period.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularized as “ObamaCare”, scheduled to roll out in 2014, will provide reduced cost health insurance coverage to those who can’t afford often prohibitively expensive private health insurance policies. Often, private health insurance policy premiums are paid by employers. If an injured worker is dropped from coverage, this less expensive coverage will enable many of our workers’ compensation clients to afford the security of knowing their non-work-related medical bills will be paid.
The Act requires every citizen to secure some sort of health insurance. For those who are actively employed, this coverage will likely come from their employers. However, for those injured workers whose employers have dropped their coverage, the Act will allow for (hopefully) low-cost health insurance coverage.
As 2014 approaches, we will learn more details of exactly how this coverage will be implemented. And, of course, the legal challenge having failed, there will now be a political effort to repeal the legislation. Stay tuned.