Understanding Workers’ Compensation Coverage Options for Georgia Businesses
New Georgia business owners have a responsibility to understand workers’ compensation and all that it offers. After reviewing the state laws regarding workers compensation for Georgia businesses, it’s now time to find the right provider and plan that suits the company’s needs.
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Workers’ Comp Coverage and Benefits
Workers’ compensation insurance plans may cover different benefits from state to state. However, in Georgia, a typical workers’ compensation insurance plan will include:
- Medical Coverage– This benefit covers medical expenses for workplace injuries and occupational illnesses. Expenses can include emergency care, ongoing care, prescription medications, and therapies.
- Disability– Most policies will provide financial aid to injured employees who lost part of their income because of their injury. The salary and length of payment depend on if the disability is permanent or temporary.
- Vocational Rehabilitation– This benefit includes paying for education for a new occupation if the injured employee can not go back to their former job due to their injury.
- Death Benefits– In the case of a workplace fatality, workers’ compensation insurance offers benefits to the family, such as coverage for funeral expenses.
The insurance company will provide the compensation described above regardless of fault for the injury. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, for example self-inflicted injuries, injuries a worker sustained while committing a crime, and injuries a worker sustains by not complying with company policy.
Insurer Options for Georgia Employers
Different states have different options and limitations for where business owners can get workers’ compensation insurance. It’s important to note that Georgia does not have a workers’ compensation state fund, unlike many other states. Although this is the case, Georgia business owners still have a few options to protect their business:
- A Private Insurance Company– One option for Georgia business owners is to find a policy through a private insurance company. Employers can purchase workers’ compensation insurance through any licensed company.
- The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Assigned Risk Plan– If finding an insurance company proves difficult, there is always a compensation assigned risk plan for any Georgia business. An assigned risk plan is for anyone who cannot obtain a policy from a regular insurance company. This risk plan acts as a safety net but is usually a last resort for employers. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) operates the Georgia workers’ comp assigned risk plans and is also a data collection bureau specializing in workers’ compensation.
How to Find the Right Provider and Policy
Before looking for the right provider and policy, the most important thing to do is invest in an insurance agent or broker. This will ultimately help you find the right provider and policy without the hassle. Once this step is complete, it’s time to research your options. Business owners must know what to look for and what questions to ask before purchasing a policy. For example, employers should consider:
- Customer Service Availability– It’s important to find an insurer who has exceptional customer service. Look for a provider that offers online customer tools that let you pay your bills, report injuries, and manage claims with ease.
- Expertise in Workers’ Comp Insurance– Many insurance companies will offer different insurance on top of workers’ comp. With this in mind, it’s more efficient to find a provider that specializes in this field and has worked with other businesses in your industry.
- Safety Resources– As a new business owner, there’s a chance that being busy is an understatement to describe your situation. If so, you likely don’t have a lot of time to craft or research safety programs. In this case, look for insurance providers who offer safety resources and employee training guides for added convenience.
- Claims Support– With workers’ comp claims can come stress, making it paramount to find a provider that offers claims management support for a smooth process.
Some final questions business owners should ask an insurance provider should involve rates, deductible options, and the insurer’s healthcare provider network.
Putting Employee Health First
Remember that as a business owner, you have the responsibility to keep the workplace safe. Finding the right workers’ compensation insurance is just one step that business owners can take to ensure employee well-being. Show employees that you prioritize their health and safety by purchasing the right compensation plan that protects everyone’s interests.