Last Updated: 4/11/2023
Workers’ compensation protects those who have been injured in a workplace accident that occurred or while conducting work-related activities. Iowa's workers’ compensation law offers a variety of benefits for those who have sustained injuries in the workplace, including lifetime medical benefits.
If you’ve been involved in a workplace accident or an accident that occurred on company property or time, you are entitled to lifetime medical benefits through workers' compensation.
Eligibility for Workers' Comp Medical Benefits & Types of Expenses Paid
Under Iowa workers’ compensation law statute 85.27, most workers injured in a workplace accident are entitled to medical treatment paid for by the employer or employer's workers' compensation insurer. There are some exceptions, though. Workers who may not be eligible for workers' compensation might include:
- employees who earned less than $1,500 from their employers during the year prior to the accident;
- agricultural employees whose employers had a payroll of less than $2,500 cash in the year prior the accident; and
- anyone related to the employer.
If you are unsure of whether you qualify for workers' compensation medical benefits or disability benefits per Iowa law, contact an attorney to review your eligibility for benefits.
Workers' compensation covers the following medical expenses:
- cost of transportation for medical purposes, such as trips to the hospital or doctor’s office;
- lost wage payments for doctors' visits during working hours; and
- cost of medical procedures, medications, etc.
What do "lifetime" medical benefits mean?
Disability benefits under workers' compensation are available for a certain amount of time. Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are available for life, though other benefits end after reaching a certain point. Regardless of the type of disability benefits the patient receives, medical benefits are paid for as long as necessary to treat the injury, up to a lifetime. Workers should follow all doctors' orders related to work injuries.
Choice of Medical Care
Because the employer is responsible for paying for medical care under workers’ compensation laws, the employer has the right to choose the medical care -- such as the provider -- that the employee receives.
In the case that the employee is unhappy with the type of care chosen by the employer or the quality of care received, the employee may request a different type of care. If the employer or insurance company denies the request, the employer can make a request for alternative care with the Workers' Compensation Commissioner. If workers do not go through the proper channels and the employer or the insurer does not approve the alternate care, workers' comp may not cover the treatment.
Additionally, if the employee believes that the level of disability a physician decides is inaccurate, he or she has the right to another examination by the employee's doctor of choice. In cases such as these, the employer is still responsible for the cost of the independent medical examination.
Get Help at Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Iowa
If you are an employee in Iowa who sustained injury while performing work-related duties, you may be entitled to the benefits provided by the employer's workers’ compensation insurance.
The attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help you to understand what type of workers’ compensation benefits you may be eligible to receive and can help file your workers’ compensation claim. Contact the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair today to begin filing your claim for compensation. Call us today at (888) 435-9886 to get started.