Many workers feel intense uncertainty after they get hurt on the job. They may worry that their employer will terminate them or that they won’t be able to support their family if they need to take time off of work.
It is also common for workers to worry about the financial impact of the medical care that they require. In theory, workers’ compensation in Iowa will cover all of your necessary medical care. What does that really mean for you as a worker with an injury?
You can go see a doctor approved by your employer
Iowa allows the employer or the insurance company to determine which health care providers an injured worker visits. With the exception of emergency care required when no representative of the company is available, an employee typically needs to defer to the acceptable health care providers posted by their employer.
As soon as you get hurt or notice symptoms, you can notify your employer and see one of the approved medical professionals. You can expect 100% coverage for your medical costs with any approved claim. If the doctor diagnoses you with a work-acquired injury or illness, workers’ compensation should pay for all of your treatment costs. There will be no patient responsibility like copay or a deductible to meet.
Sometimes, workers disagree with the treatment plan or evaluation provided by their employer’s chosen medical care provider. In such a situation, the employee can negotiate with the employer or insurance company. If they cannot resolve the dispute, the worker may need to file a petition with the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation to connect with different care.
Does treatment eventually stop?
Your access to care may taper off when you reach maximum medical improvement. If a doctor determines that your condition is not likely to substantially improve with additional intervention, then workers’ compensation medical benefits may end.
However, if you need ongoing care, like physical therapy or prescription medication, you can rely on workers’ compensation for those long-term expenses. Unfortunately, bigger medical claims with larger expenses are often subject to more scrutiny by the insurance companies.
Understanding your rights when you need medical treatment for a work-related medical issue can help you file a successful workers’ compensation claim.