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Companies offering benefit plans for injured workers

When workers in Massachusetts are injured, it is often in their best interest to return to work as soon as possible. However, when an employee suffers a serious injury or is temporarily disabled, this can be very difficult. Because of this, workers' compensation is relied upon in matters where a worker is injured on the job or suffers a work-related injury. While this benefit is important, not all workers receive these benefits due to major companies taking steps to re-write their policies for paying workers' comp.

Workers' compensation laws are changing around the United States, and while state workers' compensation plans often detail when and if an injured worker qualifies for benefits, some companies have decided to offer their own benefit plans instead. So, what does this mean? This often results in companies adopting their own plans, which could impact employees nationwide. They indicate that these plans will lower costs, get employees back to work faster and improve workplace safety. However, these changes often prevent workers from getting the help they need. Additionally, this often shifts the cost of care onto federal programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

An analysis of these new plans shows that some actually have lower benefits, more restrictions and virtually no oversight. Additionally, there are several loopholes in these corporate plans, and the plans are written in such a manner to exclude a lot of injured workers who would have been compensated under the state plan.

This illustrates the importance of understanding how workers' comp applies to employees and whether workers are covered under a state plan or a corporate plan. This can help injured workers navigate their options and determine whether or not they have opportunities to obtain the benefits owed to them when they are injured on the job.

Source: The Washington Post, "What big companies pay workers when they lose body parts on the job," Ana Swanson, Oct. 16, 2015

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