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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What a Government Default Will Do To Workers' Compensation

With only hours left, and the politicians in Washington DC still unsettled about how to resolve a US credit default, the focus turns to the impact on workers' compensation programs throughout the country.

Expanding on the problems besieging compensation programs following the US Government Shutdown, things are going to get much worse and very quickly. Social Security will stop paying benefits, its contractors and medical providers. Closing down those contributions will literally suffocate transactional information concerning integration of Medicare Secondary Payer Act benefits and reimbursement. Calculating offsets and reverse offsets will become an impossibility. Insurance companies in reverse offset states will be required to fund more dollars into the system as application flow into the state systems to modify prior awards still being paid.

Employers dependent upon government payments, including funding and contracts, will be unable to pay workers and insurance company premiums. Cascading financial distress will implode the economy and unemployment will become rampant.

Additional burdens will be placed upon injured workers who even already are struggling to make ends meet and obtain medical treatment with absolutely no Federal safety net in place to catch them. Injured workers with pending claims will be unable to seek medical and pharmaceutical benefits from collaterally funded programs.

Federal dollars actually fund over 70% on state rehabilitation programs. These programs will quickly dry up, and the those injured workers who are seeking placement in a new job through rehabilitation will be locked out of the states.

Workplaces will continue to be unregulated as OSHA (The Occupational Health Administration) will be unable to financially fund enforcement programs, new safety programs and even review comments for pending regulations, ie. The Smart Act.

Investigations requirement Federal records, including prior military records, will become increasingly difficult to secure. Stalling this process will delay completed workers' compensation medical records, expert evaluation opinions and the adjudication of workers' compensation claims.

Quite a mess! Not a pleasant prospect to look forward to, as the clock keeps clicking down