Much of what is happening in the United States right now is unprecedented. As we battle the novel coronavirus COVID-19, many industries will have to consider the aftermath and how the virus has changed how things operate. The insurance industry is one of those industries that will have to assess unprecedented claims resulting from COVID-19.
As thousands of workers are forced to temporarily leave their jobs, attention turns to the workers’ compensation system and the insurance companies that support it. Will workers be covered by workers’ compensation if they develop COVID-19? The answer to that may depend on the state, the individual case, and the laws as they likely change.
Two States Offer Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Certain Workers
Two states – Washington and Kentucky – have already announced that certain workers will be covered by workers’ compensation if they develop COVID-19. In Kentucky, first responders and healthcare workers are guaranteed coverage. Other workers may qualify, but those claims will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
In Washington, the state Department of Labor and Industries has agreed to pay medical expenses and wage-loss for healthcare workers or first responders who are quarantined because of the virus. Similar to Kentucky, Washington will assess other workers’ compensation claims on a case-by-case basis for the time being.
Officials Considering Response
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is closely monitoring how states change their workers’ compensation rules. They are also considering how the industry may respond to COVID-19. NCCI says that 10 states have already issued mandates to cover certain workers exposed to COVID-19. The directives and details of coverage vary by state, but generally include emergency treatment and urgent care.
Some states have specific language in workers’ compensation policies related to occupational diseases. However, COVID-19 is certainly not included. That may change, however, as the virus continues to spread in the U.S. and more workers begin filing claims.
Do You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation laws and rules are changing as COVID-19 continues to spread. If you are concerned about your health or want to find out if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, contact The Law Offices of Dennis R. Fusi & Associates.