When it comes to protecting your health, it pays to plan in advance. Accidents and injuries can happen at any time. In fact, the CDC estimates that nearly 40 million physician office visits happen for unintentional injuries each year.
But when it comes to insurance, even the best-laid plans can grow a little confusing. How can you be sure you have access to the medical benefits you need? What’s the difference between workers’ compensation and health insurance, and which one should you have?
Keep reading for a simple guide to the difference between both coverage options.
What Is Health Insurance?
The purpose of health insurance is to pay for your general medical expenses. This includes illnesses and injuries that happen outside of work. For example, it will include emergencies as well as annual wellness check-ups.
The Affordable Care Act requires that all Americans have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.
Businesses will offer health insurance benefits to workers that meet certain requirements. Each employee can opt into one of the offered policies. Most businesses will have employees pay part of the premium, though others may pay this cost in full.
In addition, employees can also opt to pay for private health insurance on their own.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Unlike the more generalized coverage of health insurance, workers’ compensation insurance policies will cover the costs of a work-related injury or illness.
For example, this could include an accident like a worker slipping and falling on the stairs. It could also include a work-related illness, like an employee getting sick from an infectious disease like COVID-19. In some cases, it will also include repetitive strain as well as health problems and conditions related to high job stress.
This helps protect businesses and their employees from paying high medical bills out of pocket for incidents that occur on the job. In addition to paying for medical expenses, this coverage may also cover the following:
- Lost wages if the employee needs to recover
- Disability benefits for any temporary or permanent disabilities
- Funeral expenses for death due to a job-related accident
The details, however, can depend from state to state.
Most states require businesses to provide workers’ compensation as soon as they bring in their first employee. Unlike health insurance, workers’ compensation often extends to part-time workers and contractors as well.
If workers’ compensation isn’t provided, or whenever an employee has a hard time getting their employer to cover expenses, it’s important to take a look at an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
You Need Workers’ Compensation and Health Insurance
If you’re currently employed, you should take advantage of your workplace’s offerings for both workers’ compensation and health insurance, when appropriate. Both of these coverage options can help you get the help you need to stay healthy or to recuperate while paying for your medical expenses. Knowing that both policies are in place can give you peace of mind as you tackle your next projects!
Want more of the legal insights you need to know? Check out our other posts for more helpful guides.