Workers’ compensation ensures that an employee does not have to pay out of pocket for medical and rehabilitative services that are required following a work-related accident. That said, if the employee has a compensable injury, do they have free reign to pursue whatever rehabilitative services and treatments that they see fit? Do they have to go with the cheapest medical treatment available? We explain how treatment coverage is determined and if alternative treatments are covered in today’s blog.
Are Alternative Treatments Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
Alternative medicine techniques have been around for centuries, and while their effectiveness may not be as clearly documented as some more standard techniques, that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue alternative medicine after a work injury. However, you do not have free reign to choose whatever treatment you want simply because you have a compensable injury.
Minnesota law states that workers’ compensation needs to provide compensation for treatment techniques that are deemed “reasonable and necessary.” As you might imagine, there is no standardized definition as to what is reasonable and necessary, so that part is somewhat open to interpretation. Your insurance company may not see a certain treatment as reasonable or necessary, but you may feel differently. In these instances, you absolutely need to have a workers’ compensation lawyer by your side.
Your lawyer can make a strong argument as to why the treatment is reasonable and necessary, and they’ll be happy to advocate on your behalf. Similarly, your lawyer can work with your doctor to help you get approval for certain techniques. If your doctor writes in their official report that acupuncture, massage therapy or other alternative techniques may be helpful or are outright recommended, that will go a long way in helping you get clearance for certain treatment. Just know that the opposite can hold true as well. If your doctor doesn’t recommend certain treatments, odds are the insurance company will not offer coverage for these services.
In the vast majority of cases where you have a compensable claim, certain standard services that are part of a normal treatment plan will be eligible for compensation. If deemed reasonable or necessary by your treating physician, you can expect to have the following treatments covered:
- Physical Therapy
- Assistive Devices
If you’re at all curious if certain treatments would be covered, the best thing you can do is to reach out to your lawyer. They’ll be able to connect with your employer’s insurance company to see if specific treatments are covered. It is always a good idea to ask for clearance prior to seeking out specific alternative services. Don’t assume that your massage or that acupuncture service will be covered simply because you believe that it will help with your condition. Again, it certainly may be helpful, but if you want to be compensated for these treatment expenses, they need to be deemed reasonable and necessary. Your lawyer will typically have to advocate on your behalf for any alternative treatments that aren’t standard procedure for your medical condition.
If you have questions about whether or not certain treatments will be covered after your work injury, or you just want to learn more about your compensation options following an injury, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.