Managing Employees' Pre-Existing Injuries

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December 5, 2012 — 2,334 views  
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Managing Employees' Pre-Existing Injuries

A number of federal employment legislations deal with the issue of pre-existing injuries and illnesses. Several employment related laws deal with potential injuries that may happen in the workplace. The compensation laws of workers require insurance-like programs that should be funded by employers for their employees who may be hurt or sick while on their jobs. OSHA provides safety regulations around the workplace. The regulations are supposed to prevent injuries.

Moreover, there are special laws that deal with workers who are sick, disabled or injured before their employment period. The laws that deal with pre-existing injuries include Health Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that provides employee insurance cover protections, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits employee discrimination and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It is important for workers comp managers to be aware of these laws, as they may have to hire people with pre-existing health conditions at certain points.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

This law mandates that employers should include employees with pre-existing health conditions in an insurance plan. In addition, the law also prohibits unfair discrimination of employees with pre-existing injuries and their family members based on the condition of the employee with the pre-existing health condition. States may provide additional protection in excess of the federal legislations; however, the state laws cannot reduce the protections offered by HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) allows the insurance plan of employers to go back about half a year prior to coverage for a pre-existing injury. However, it is imperative to note that though HIPAA restricts on employer health plan, it does not actually require employers to offer a health plan.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This legislation prohibits employee discrimination based on disabilities. Under this law, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees who are disabled provided the accommodations do not harm their business. This law does not prohibit employers from offering an insurance plan that excludes coverage of pre-existing injuries. However, the HIPAA offers protection in this area.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

This is a federal law that requires that employees be given some time from work to take care of their family members who may be sick or injured. This law was amended in 2008; the amendments specifically modified the sections that deal with family members who are service members. Under the amended act, employees who qualify for leave include those with family members that have pre-existing injuries aggravated while they were in active duty.


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