If workers suffer an injury on the job, many thoughts will run through their minds all at once. The pain is first, but then workers often wonder what they will do when they cannot work and how they will provide for their family.
Injured workers might know that workers’ compensation benefits will cover their medical costs, but what does that coverage entail?
Workers’ compensation benefits cover a range of medical costs
Maryland’s workers’ compensation law states that covered employees injured in the course of their work are entitled coverage of their causally related medical costs (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment §9-660).
For example, if a construction worker fell and broke their leg, they could receive compensation to cover costs including:
- Treatment: This includes any medical treatment to heal the broken leg, such as surgery to initially fix and stabilize a broken bone and physical therapy to help individuals regain the use of their leg after the injury.
- Hospital services: A stay at the hospital can lead to an expensive bill. Workers are often taken to the emergency room for services upon arriving. Then they often need laboratory work and an x-ray before moving forward with any treatment. Thankfully, workers’ compensation usually covers all service costs.
- Medicines: After any type of injury, physicians often prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, pain medication either in pill form or a topical cream, and even medication for gastro-intestinal issues related to the primary medications prescribed. Just like other medical benefits, the cost of prescription medication will be covered, so long is it remains related to the work-injury.
- Medical equipment: This includes if the injured worker requires a wheelchair or crutches while their broken leg heals. In extreme cases, this also includes prosthetics.
Of course, the medical services required will depend on the worker’s injuries. Regardless of the injury and how long it takes to recover, the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission requires the employer’s insurance company to provide benefits that cover these costs for the duration of the worker’s recovery. The exception to such care is for experimental therapies and physicians who wish to charge an exorbitant cost for care outside of what is fair and reasonable for Workers’ Compensation Claims.
Workers’ compensation is meant to support workers after a work-related accident. And the medical coverage workers can obtain under Maryland law significantly reduces the financial stress injured workers face, so they can focus on their recovery.