How New Health Care Laws Could Affect Worker’s Compensation

The new health care reform law will have both negative and positive effects on worker’s compensation systems throughout the nation, Dr. David Deitz, national medical director of commercial insurance strategic practices at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. in Boston, told attendees during the Disability Management Employer Coalition in Las Vegas.

In his keynote presentation, Dietz pointed out that because worker’s compensation regulations vary by state that also means those covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will have differing benefits.

Although Dietz couldn’t say whether there would be a negative or positive impact, he said that with more people covered under PPACA, employers could see general reduction in “the number of uninsured workers who are going to look for worker’s compensation because they have no other health coverage,” according to Business Insurance coverage from the convention. 

There could be “trickle-down” effects from this because it could spur employers to shift from hiring full-time employees to hiring part-time employees, Dietz pointed out during his speech. He also said that because part-time workers typically have higher rates of workers compensation filings and more injuries, this could mean consequences.

This also brings up concerns of access to care in some states because it varies how each state reimburses doctors.

Editor’s Note: Tina Grady Barbaccia is the executive editor for sister magazine Better Roads.

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