Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo outlines benefits for injured workers, as well as new risks to consider
PHILADELPHIA (January 6, 2014) – The Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to produce a degree of uncertainty around how the law will impact injured workers. Based on extensive experience and insight into workers’ compensation issues, the attorneys of Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo, the Pennsylvania law firm specializing in workers’ compensation and social security disability, predict some clear benefits for injured employees, as well as some new areas of risk workers should understand.
According to Geoffrey W. Dlin, Esq., a partner at Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo and a former workers’ compensation judge in Pennsylvania for more than 15 years, one very significant advantage for previously uninsured injured workers stems from the new policy prohibiting insurance carriers from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions.
“Currently, the overwhelming majority of injured workers do not have health insurance through their employer,” explained Dlin. “Soon, however, workers will have the comfort and security of having access to health care coverage to pay for their medical expenses while their claim is being evaluated and after their workers’ compensations benefits end.”
In another scenario, if an employee’s workers’ compensation claim is denied, the worker is still able to receive medical treatment by purchasing his or her own coverage, despite the preexisting condition.
Ninety present of workers’ compensation cases typically are resolved through an agreed upon settlement. However, employees are often required to resign from their employment as part of the settlement.
“Perhaps the biggest impact the ACA will have on these cases is rather than having to purchase insurance on their own through the very expensive open insurance market, recovering workers will have affordable options available to them,” stated Dlin.
Regardless of how their cases are resolved, the ACA provides an extra safety net of coverage, relieving some of the additional stress that injured employees typically face beyond their physical recovery.
Another aspect of the workplace that the ACA will impact is the growing number of wellness programs that employers will initiate in order to improve the health of their employees. While the intent is clearly positive, there could be an increase in worker’s compensation cases, as employees injured while participating in a company-sponsored wellness program or at an onsite fitness facility do qualify to make a claim against their employer.
However, some gray areas will emerge, explains Dlin. For instance, an injury sustained through a wellness program that is merely offered as a perk may present an obstacle for the employee to claim as work-related. This opens up questions about the variety of wellness initiatives and opportunities available through one’s employers. As employers design their own unique plans, from on-site yoga classes to gym discounts, questions will continue to arise about what constitutes a work-related injury.
“The impact of the ACA will certainly be complex and will take some time to fully understand and apply to workers’ compensation,” said Dlin. “The Krasno legal team will remain fully up-to-date and equipped to support our clients through the fair resolution of their work-related injuries.”
ABOUT KRASNO, KRASNO & ONWUDINJO
Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo is the only third generation workers’ compensation and social security disability law firm in Pennsylvania dedicated to protecting the rights of injured workers and disabled adults and children. Founded in 1936 by the Honorable Isadore Krasno, the law firm has nine office locations including Philadelphia, Pottsville, Norristown, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, Bloomsburg, Lancaster, and Williamsport.
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Contact: Vince Powers/610-937-1960