5 Things I Love About Texas Injury Benefit Programs
By Sean Parker, Vice President of PartnerShip Services
Prior to starting at PartnerSource in 2007, I had 18 years’ experience working at a large workers’ compensation carrier. Having a dual background in the Texas Option and workers’ compensation affords a unique perspective. Compared to workers’ compensation, there are so many things to love about Texas injury benefit programs.
Here are my top 5:
1. PartnerSource clients. Many employers who purchase workers’ compensation policies simply treat employee injuries as a cost of doing business. In contrast, the clients we work with at PartnerSource are looking for solutions that allow them to take better care of their injured employees. Our clients are willing to take the time to collaborate with us to develop an injury benefit program that not only meets the unique needs of their employees but also provides better benefits. It is a pleasure to work with employers who genuinely care about their injured employees.
2. Employees are trained on the plan. As part of developing an injury benefit program, PartnerSource helps our clients create employee communication materials. These materials are used by the client to roll out their injury benefit program. Employees learn about the plan, its benefits and their responsibilities. Employees who work for subscribers rarely, if ever, receive any information about workers’ compensation prior to being injured. That lack of understanding leads to unanswered questions about their benefits, or worse – inadvertent compliance issues that result in a denial of benefits.
3. Better wage replacement benefits. Workers’ compensation has a 7-day waiting period before a disabled employee becomes entitled to temporary income benefits. Once eligible, they only receive 70-75 percent of their pre-injury pay. In contrast, one of the ways PartnerSource helps our clients take better care of their injured employees is by designing injury benefit programs that pay better wage replacement benefits. Often, that means no waiting period and paying 100 percent of the employee’s pre-injury pay. In addition, because wage replacement benefits come directly from the employer instead of a carrier or third party claims administrator, the employee’s portion for benefits such as group health insurance continue to be deducted from the employee’s paycheck, thereby ensuring no lapse in benefits for them or their families.
4. Better medical outcomes. Under workers’ compensation, it can be challenging to find quality physicians willing to treat injured employees. Due to required paperwork and low state fee schedule reimbursement rates, quality physicians with thriving practices have no incentive to treat injured employees. In contrast, PartnerSource clients are not bound by state fee schedules and therefore have the ability to reimburse physicians at a higher competitive rate. Doing so allows access to quality physicians, many of whom would not otherwise treat injured employees. Another way our clients achieve better medical outcomes is by utilizing a plan medical director. One role of a plan medical director is to direct specialist referrals, with the director utilizing their knowledge to select the best specialist for the specific injury, thereby helping to ensure quality medical care and a good outcome for the injured employee.
5. Flexibility. Over the years of helping PartnerSource clients achieve better outcomes for their injured employees, I have learned to appreciate the flexibility afforded by well-developed Texas injury benefit programs. Having that flexibility allows our clients to meet the needs of their employees on those occasions when a unique situation arises. In contrast, workers’ compensation’s “one size fits all” approach does not afford that flexibility.
What do you love most about Texas injury benefit programs? Feel free to send me your top five at firstname.lastname@example.org.