Virginia has several different types of compensation, or money, that you may receive after you have been injured at work and have filed a worker’s compensation claim. The names of several of them sound similar, and it can be difficult to understand what each one means. This part of the series explains Lifetime Medical Benefits.
Lifetime Medical Benefits
Previously in this series, the focus has been on benefits that you receive as compensation in place of lost or lowered wages for being unable to work or for dying. Lifetime medical benefits are different because they are the benefits for the actual medical treatment for the reason you are unable to work.
If your claim was filed in the allowed time frame, you can receive reimbursement for as long as necessary for the cost of your medical treatment for your injury caused by work. The medical expenses must be “reasonable and necessary”. If the regular course of treatment for your injury requires yearly appointments with a specialist for five years, for example, they would be covered under the lifetime medical benefits.
You’ll have a primary doctor for your medical treatment; choosing the doctor is the second step after you’ve been injured, between telling your job and calling HammondTownsend. Depending on the type of injury, often you’ll have at least one specialist physician that you’re working with as well. If you’ve shattered a bone it might be an orthopedic surgeon, or if you’ve received a head injury it may be a neurologist or neurosurgeon. Bills related to appointments with both types of doctors, primary care and specialty care, are covered.
Hospital bills for your injury or illness are covered under lifetime medical benefits. Other types of covered expenses include prescription medications, physical therapy appointments, medical tests, and prostheses. Don’t skip out on physical therapy or other appointments that will help you recover as much as possible from your injury at work: the lifetime medical benefits will pay and your quality of life will be greatly improved.
You will need to do what the medical professionals say regarding treatment so that your other benefits, replacing lost wages, will continue. So you will need to attend physician appointments that are set up, have necessary medical tests done, such as going to an imaging center for X-rays or an MRI, and otherwise cooperate with the doctor(s).
Besides reimbursement for the actual cost of the medical expense, you can receive compensation for “reasonable” medical mileage. If you live in Bath County and must travel to Charlottesville for treatment not available closer to your home, or live in Abingdon and must go to Roanoke, for example, receiving medical mileage reimbursement can be very helpful to offset the cost of the trip.