At Steinger, Iscoe & Greene we frequently help clients who are dealing with workers’ compensation claims. If you are injured on the job or in work-related activities, you have a right to receive appropriate medical attention and you should expect workers’ compensation to help pay for the cost. However, crucial changes are being proposed to the Florida workers’ comp system that could affect you.
At the heart of the proposed changes is the continued increase in the number of medical reimbursement claims the workers’ comp system is dealing with. Medical reimbursement is a payment made by an insurance company to cover the cost of a drug. This can be a drug you paid for yourself at a pharmacy, or one that a doctor gave you during treatment, which the doctor then bills to your insurance.
But an insurance company can dispute these claims, and the number of disputes has gone up roughly 400% in the past year. The insurance companies say that the cause for the disputes is the increasingly common practice of doctors dispensing drugs directly to patients during their treatment. The insurance companies claim this costs them far more, and would rather see doctors issue prescriptions that patients fill at a pharmacy. But doctors point to a state report that says the cost is roughly the same.
This may sound like a behind-the-scenes dispute between doctors and insurers, but it directly affects patients. When doctors are able to dispense drugs on the spot, it means you get the fastest treatment and the least hassle. It also gives doctors and clinics the ability to price drugs appropriately.
But insurance companies are asking the state to limit the ability of physicians to dispense drugs, or to require them to bill them at fixed prices that insurance companies agree with. The likely result of such a move would be more physicians handing you a prescription and telling you to get it filled at a pharmacy, paying out of pocket.
If that happens, any reimbursement dispute would be a dispute directly with you – delaying or refusing your right to coverage and effectively footing you with the bill.
If you have a workers’ comp claim that is denied, delayed or disputed, don’t try to fight it alone. Insurance companies know that individuals and families have a much harder time fighting for compensation than doctors and large clinics do. If you are involved in a workers’ comp dispute of any kind, contact a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer at Steinger, Iscoe & Greene today. We’re happy to give you a free consultation and help you decide what’s right for your case.