Across the United States, businesses are making drastic adjustments to their operations; citizens are closing themselves inside to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and laws addressing the virus are being pushed through at a rapid pace.
As the velocity of COVID-19’s spread increases, the number one question we receive is “when it comes to workers compensation, is COVID-19 compensable?”. Traditionally, each state individually determines the criteria for what makes an occupational disease/illness compensable in that state. As with other claims, each COVID-19 claim must be investigated and a decision made on compensability based on those individual circumstances. Factoring in those two components, making a blanket statement on the compensability is difficult.
Although our environment is ever-changing, the current situation is moving rapidly and what was normal a month ago, a week ago or even yesterday isn’t normal any longer. We’re seeing states start to make changes in their jurisdictional statutes, which may impact how these specific jurisdictions treat COVID-19 claims in addition to existing non-COVID claims due to a trickle-down impact. Regardless of what these changes are or how fast they are coming, we are maintaining a close watch on them and ensuring our staff are fully aware.
In recent weeks, certain states have begun issuing communications to help drive an understanding of eligibility for workers compensation. As of March 19, 2020, a number of states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Texas, New York and New Jersey have taken action by responding to the outbreak through additional statements, websites or expanded laws for worker’s compensation and disability.
For example, Texas is actively working with workers compensation organizations around the country to create unique codes to identify claims directly arising from the COVID-19 virus. These new codes will allow the cost of these claims to be tracked, measured and treated appropriately. And in California, benefit review conferences and contested case hearings are being held by telephone.
Day by day, hour by hour, more states are adjusting policies to deal with the new hand we’ve been dealt. What isn’t changing is Broadspire’s people-first, compassionate approach to the lives behind our claims.
When a crisis such as the global COVID-19 pandemic happens, the lives of your employees can be filled with anxiety, fear and uncertainty. Our specially trained case managers can provide interventions that will assist with the individual’s psychosocial needs. We know that the need for medical care does not go away as social distancing and quarantine protocols expand. Telemedicine and telerehab provide opportunities for impacted individuals to receive the medical attention they need without leaving home.
No matter how your claims may shift during this unprecedented time, we are also tracking COVID-19 related claims to provide you with visibility, insights, and solutions.
Now more than ever, we all need each other. Taking a personal approach to claims management isn’t new to Broadspire – it’s the foundation we are built on. We remain committed to our mission of restoring and enhancing lives, businesses and communities. We will continue to maintain a close eye on the details of the situation, and as with every individual claim, apply our expertise, technology, and compassion to support our clients while keeping our employees safe.
For more detailed information on what factors are considered in the compensability of occupational disease claims, please see our white paper here.