When you have been injured on the job, your first source of relief—after addressing your physical injuries—is usually provided by benefits offered through workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits typically offer coverage for medical expenses, temporary or permanent disability, and some recompense for lost wages. Because the law in Illinois requires employers to provide workers’ compensation for their employees, many workers simply take the system for granted. They give little thought to the reality that workers’ compensation is a type of insurance policy that the employer must purchase at the expense of the company.
High Expenses, Even for Safe Workers
In recent years, the growing costs of purchasing workers’ compensation in Illinois has led many business owners to question the sustainability of the current system. The neighboring states of Missouri and Indiana manage to offer comprehensive workers’ compensation benefits with a significantly lower price tag. One business leader, whose company offers trucking services, said that if he moved his 17 trucking jobs to Missouri, his company could save more than $25,000 annually, just on workers’ compensation costs. He could reportedly save $66,000 on the insurance by moving to Indiana. “We’re just a victim of a high-priced system,” the company president said.
Keeping Special Interests Out
In an ideal world, the state’s workers’ compensation system would be built on common ground between what is best for employers and what is in the employees’ best interest. Instead, many around Illinois are fully convinced that the program is currently designed to benefit insurance companies, contracted doctors who are part of the treatment networks, and the lawyers who represent them. Take, for example, the idea that a workers’ compensation doctor is permitted to repackage prescription medications and dispense them to patients at a markup as high as 300 percent. Not only does this practice put patients at higher risk for drug dependency but it also creates a very lucrative situation for the doctor to continue collecting payments from the workers’ compensation policy.
Could Opting Out Help?
Advocates for change in the state have increased their calls for a new system that allows employers to opt out of the statewide program in favor of a plan that is customized to meet their unique needs. An opt-out program has been available in Texas for a number of years and one has been developed for use in Oklahoma as well. Insurance companies are unsurprisingly voicing their skepticism about opt-out programs, claiming that they will not adequately protect workers in the state. It seems that many already feel that way about the current system.
Workers’ Compensation Assistance
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be very difficult and you may struggle to receive the benefits you deserve. If you have been hurt on the job, contact an experienced Aurora workers’ compensation attorney at Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C. today. We will review your case and help you get the compensation you need to get back on your feet and back to work quickly. Call 630-907-0909 for a free consultation right away.