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Besides medical costs, what else will workers' comp cover?

Most employees understand that a provider of workers' compensation benefits will pay for all medical bills associated with the injury, so long as the attending physician provides the care. However, many workers are unsure of whether other expenses connected to the medical bills will also be taken care of via workers' compensation.

A few of these additional coverage questions include compensation for travel expenses, lost time, and prescription reimbursement. The State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission has helped delineate some of these other expenses workers' compensation may cover.

While an injured employee needs to visit a physician to receive treatment, setting up transportation to and from all of the necessary appointments may become an issue. An employer is required to furnish or pay for an injured employee's transportation to and from medical exams or treatments, even if the transport is done by taxi or ambulance. An employee able to drive on his or her own is entitled to reimbursement at the federal mileage rate.

In addition to compensating an injured worker for travel to and from appointments, an employer also cannot require an employee to receive medical treatment outside of regular work hours. Rather, an employee should obtain medical care and treatment during normal work hours, if possible. The worker is entitled to compensation at their normal rate of earning, if he or she is not receiving workers' compensation wage replacement benefits.

Another question that often arises for an injured worker involves the payment of prescriptions associated with an injury. Any prescription ordered by the attending physician in relation to a medical treatment plan for a work-related injury is fully covered by an employee's benefits. A worker should not be forced to pay for the prescription upfront before asking for reimbursement.

Workers' compensation benefits focus on helping pay for care for the injured employee in all arenas, including medical expenses, travel, lost time and prescription costs. Anything short of making the employee whole in a financial sense fails to accomplish the purpose of workers' compensation.

Source: State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, "Information packet," accessed Dec. 8, 2014

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