Today’s post comes to us from my colleague Amanda Katz of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano in New York.
Question: I received a bill from my doctor for treatment relating to my workers’ compensation claim. Am I responsible for payment?
Answer: You do not have to pay your doctor for treatment resulting from your work-related accident.
There is often confusion about paying doctor bills related to work-related accidents, but the reality is relatively simple. Take for example Joanna. While at work, a heavy box fell on Joanna’s foot. As a result, she was unable to walk and had to immediately go to the emergency room. Following treatment for her broken foot, Joanna received an expensive bill from the hospital. What should Joanna do?
Joanna should not pay the bill!
Under workers’ compensation law, your employer’s insurance covers expenses for any necessary medical treatment you receive stemming from a work-related accident. Hospital and doctor bills will be paid by the insured unless the state’s workers’ compensation board disallows your claim or resolves disputes concerning medical bills in favor of the insurance carrier. If the insurance company refuses to pay for treatment, it’s the responsibility of the medical provider to submit those disputed medical bills to the workers’ compensation board for reconciliation or arbitration.
In Joanna’s case, her workers’ compensation claim was accepted by her employer’s insurance company. Not being responsible for any costs associated with her initial visit to the emergency room, Joanna asked the hospital to submit the unpaid bill to her employer’s insurance carrier rather than paying it herself.
Remember, medical bills are not the responsibility of the workers’ compensation claimant.