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Do you have a right to a second opinion through workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

A worker seriously injured on the job depends on workers’ compensation for their medical care and basic cost of living expenses until they go back to work. Although workers can theoretically expect workers’ compensation to cover their medical care costs, the insurance company and their employer have a lot of influence regarding what care they receive.

Frequently, employees may have questions about the treatment plan recommended by the physician overseeing their care or may feel like they would respond better to alternative treatments. It is easy to question the true intentions of a medical professional selected by an insurance company rather than by the patient. Employees expected to go back to work to accept certain treatment plans may wonder if they can challenge the proposed medical treatment.

Will Iowa workers’ compensation cover the cost of a second opinion regarding the treatment recommended?

You may have the right to an independent medical examination

In a scenario in which a doctor determines that you have no remaining impairment from your work-related medical condition or that your response to treatment has plateaued and therefore treatment should stop, state law gives you the right to ask for an outside evaluation.

Workers’ compensation will cover the cost of an independent medical evaluation in a scenario in which a doctor intends to release a patient receiving workers’ compensation care from treatment but the worker claims they still need support. The report generated at that appointment will determine if your treatment will end or if you still qualify for additional support.

You could get your own second opinion

It is possible for workers to submit forms to request alternative treatments when they disagree with the recommendations of the doctor overseeing their care. However, such claims often carry more weight when there is outside medical documentation affirming someone’s claims.

Although workers’ compensation won’t cover it for you, you may find it a worthwhile investment to pay for your own medical care at a separate facility and obtain a second opinion. The records of that appointment could help you challenge the decisions made by the doctor overseeing your care and help you get better support during your recovery.

Knowing your rights as an employee receiving workers’ compensation benefits will help you make the most of the coverage available to you.


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