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Workers' compensation insurers may trade quality for cost savings

Insurance companies that handle workers' compensation claims execute a number of protocols intended to keep their costs down. However, insurers tend to simultaneously neglect the true needs of workers when they engage in excessive cost-cutting programs. The controversial subject of prescribing opioid painkillers has become an issue in workers' compensation matters nationwide and in New York City.

The attempts of insurers to keep opioid prescriptions limited to necessary treatment is an attempt at frugality on the insurers' parts. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published recent research findings showing that medical providers caring for injured workers are doing a better job at reducing opioid use than in caring for those not injured at work. The control mechanisms used by insurers in this narrowly defined area of medical care thus has shown a positive return for employers and workers alike.

Employers tend to get their valuable employees back to work sooner by the lessening of the effect of opioid issues in treatment progress. Workers benefit in return by getting back to their jobs sooner rather than later, which is beneficial in that respect. However, whenever an insurer attempts to deny appropriately prescribed medication or treatment due to a fiscal crackdown, it may be time for the injured worker to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

The obsession of insurers to save money is understandable in one sense, but these programs and strategies must be kept in perspective, both in New York City and nationwide. There has been no evidence to show that insurance companies processing workers' compensation claims have suffered any reductions in their massive profit margins. Consequently, injured workers and workers' groups must remain vigilant to protest cost containment measures that would put a worker's well-being in doubt. Attorneys experienced in this area of the law offer free consultations that are available whenever any questions arise regarding the fair treatment of workers with respect to their injury claims.

Source: businessinsurance.com, "Workers comp outperforms nation in reducing opioid prescribing", Louise Esola, July 12, 2017

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