Who Pays Health Insurance While on Workers’ Comp? Your Guide to Benefits

March 7 2023

Generally, the employer is responsible for providing health insurance coverage while an employee is receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, in some cases, the workers’ compensation carrier or a private insurer may be responsible.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation, also known as workman’s comp, is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to workers who suffer from a work-related injury or illness. All employers are required by law to have this insurance in order for it to be available for their employees should they become injured on the job. These benefits can help employees cover medical costs, lost wages due to missed time from work, disability, and death benefits in the event of an employee’s death resulting from a work-related incident.

The purpose of this coverage is not only to protect employers from financial hardship due to these injuries and illnesses but also to ensure that injured workers receive appropriate care and wages while they are recovering. Workers’ comp typically pays out regardless of who was at fault for the injury or illness, making it easier for workers to obtain the necessary benefits they need while they are unable to perform their duties.

On one hand, some argue that this type of system encourages higher safety standards on worksites due to the potential strain it puts on finances when an accident occurs. On the other hand, some criticize the system arguing that it makes it too easy for unscrupulous employers to use loopholes and exemptions in the law to avoid paying out full damages for an accident.

Whatever side of the debate you may fall on, workers’ compensation exists as an important system meant to provide injured workers with necessary care and income during their recovery period. As you move forward in understanding how health insurance fits into this equation, let’s now take a look at who pays for health insurance while someone is on workers’ compensation.

Who Pays for Health Insurance While on Workers’ Comp?

When an employee is injured in the workplace and needs to take time off to recover, most employers offer Workers’ Compensation (WC) benefits, which may include partial wage replacement, medical care expenses and more. But who pays health insurance while on Workers’ Comp? This can depend on the policies of the employer in certain cases.

While it is a law in some states that employers must cover health insurance premiums under Workers’ Comp, other states allow employers the option of whether or not they want to do so. Generally, employers are required to provide coverage for the injured employee during their leave and until they are able to return to work.

On one hand, employers may argue that providing additional coverage for health insurance while an employee is receiving WC benefits can be costly and burdensome for businesses. On the other hand, many injured employees argue that not being covered for health insurance during their leave is unfair since it puts their medical expenses at risk.

Regardless of the argument for who should pay for health insurance when an employee is on Workers’ Comp, most state laws have specific regulations that apply. For example, California requires employers to continue paying the portion of out-of-pocket costs related to the insured injury subject to WC benefits or until the taxes imposed by Section 31000 of the State Unemployment Insurance Code are paid in full by an employer.

Ultimately, employers are responsible for deciding if they will cover health insurance while an employee is receiving Workers’ Comp benefits. Each company should consult with their legal counsel as well as local laws and regulations before making any decisions about what level of coverage should be included in their workers’ comp packages.

Now that we have discussed who pays for health insurance while on workers’ comp let’s move onto our next section which discusses employer responsibility.

Employer Responsibility

Employer Responsibility for health insurance benefits for employees injured at work varies greatly by state. Employers may be solely responsible for medical costs and other related expenses, including temporary or permanent disability, depending on the company size, the employee’s contract, and the employer’s liability laws.

In some cases, employers are required to pay health insurance while an employee is out of work due to a workplace injury. For example, some states have a “no fault” system which provides injured workers with compensation regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Other states may allow employers to deny coverage if they can prove that the employee was negligent in their actions leading to their injury.

The legal requirements surrounding employer responsibility also vary widely. Some states require employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage while others do not. Additionally, there are often different regulations relating to how long employers must cover an injured worker as well as whether or not they must provide any additional benefits beyond medical care.

It is important to familiarize yourself with your state’s labor laws when considering employer responsibility for health insurance coverage for work-related injuries. Many times, employers may only be liable for a portion of the cost of an employee’s medical bills or lost wages—or none at all—depending on where the injury occurred and what kind of insurance coverage has been purchased on behalf of employees.

At the end of the day, each state has different rules surrounding this issue so it’s important for employers and employees alike to understand them before accepting any form of compensation during an injury claim. With that being said, now is the time to move on to exploring what specific state regulations might be in place concerning who pays health insurance while on workers’ comp.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers are responsible for providing medical care related to workplace injuries and illnesses which are covered by workers’ compensation.
  • The cost of the medical coverage is usually paid for by the employer, although it may be shared with an employee’s health insurance provider or a workers’ compensation insurance company in some cases.
  • A 2017 survey found that 58% of employers offer health care benefits to employees who are out on workers’ compensation.

State Regulations

State regulations vary greatly when it comes to who is responsible for health insurance costs for an employee injured on the job. The American Bar Association states that the decision usually rests in a state’s workers’ compensation laws, making it important for employers and workers to understand their obligations under that particular legislation.

As a rule of thumb, in most cases employers are required to provide health insurance coverage while an employee is receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Some states may require employers to pay the full cost of coverage, while other states may allow the employer to decrease their contribution if they meet specific requirements. Furthermore, some states have special laws that protect employees on long-term disability or extended leave status.

In addition, if an employer continues to offer coverage after termination or death of an employee, states may require the employer to continue paying for the employee’s health insurance benefits until either the benefits are exhausted or a certain period of time has passed. This helps to ensure that an employee does not lose valuable health care coverage during their recovery from a workplace injury. It also provides financial security for any dependents depending on that person’s health insurance coverage.

On the other hand, there are some state regulations which limit employers’ liability by allowing them to terminate health care coverage after a certain period without any further obligation on their behalf. In these cases, some states could require employers to pay into a special fund which can provide temporary relief until another source of coverage is found or until the employee returns to work.

Since each state has its own set of laws regulating who pays healthcare expenses while on worker’s compensation, with varying restrictions and requirements adding further complexity, it is important for employers to review all relevant legislation prior to enacting worker’s comp policies and procedures.

The next section will discuss company policies and procedures pertaining to the payment of health insurance while an employee is on worker’s comp.

Company Policies and Procedures

Company policies and procedures play a key role in determining who pays health insurance while on workers’ comp. Depending on the employer, there may be additional qualifications or limitations imposed on policyholders looking to access health insurance coverage during workers’ comp.

For employers who provide company-sponsored health insurance plans, it is up to the policy to dictate whether benefits are extended to workers’ compensation claimants. Due to regulations surrounding health insurance plans, companies may only offer limited coverage for medical purposes. Some employers even refuse to pay for health insurance under workers’ comp circumstances, leaving it solely up to the employee or their legal representative.

Debate has emerged around these policies and procedures, with some arguing that individuals should have access to extended healthcare benefits while they are injured, while others believe that taking such measures would negatively impact business operations due to increased premiums. Ultimately, this debate is left up to the company and its individual set of rules and regulations outlined in their policy handbooks.

Finally, as companies take into account both operational costs and employee health coverage when formulating their policies around workers’ comp, it is important for employers to understand their legal responsibilities under state law. The next section will discuss in detail what legal requirements companies must abide by when assisting injured employees in obtaining health insurance while on workers’ comp.

Company responsibilities should be established and confirmed after examining the relevant state and federal laws surrounding workers’ comp claims.

Company Responsibilities

Company responsibilities are not always clear-cut when it comes to addressing medical costs of employees who go on workers’ compensation. Companies may be legally obligated to provide health insurance coverage under their policies, though their provisions will vary depending on the applicable state laws and the language of the plan.

On the one hand, employers are typically obligated under state laws to provide health insurance coverage while an employee is off work due to a workers’ compensation claim. If an employee injured on the job needs medical care, then the employer must pay for all of the related expenses in order for the employee to recover. This can include amounts such as doctor’s visits, hospital bills, medication, physical therapy, and other costs associated with treatment for work-related injuries.

On the other hand, there are cases in which employers do not have to cover such expenses. For example, if an employee was injured due to his or her own negligence or reckless behavior at work, the employer may not be responsible for covering health insurance costs. Moreover, some employers may limit coverage of certain medical expenses or set caps on benefits they are willing to offer while a worker is out due to an illness or injury. Other employers may also provide limited benefits or refuse to cover any medical costs at all in certain situations.

Ultimately, understanding your company’s health insurance policy and its specific provisions is essential before submitting a workers’ compensation claim in order to determine whether you qualify for any benefits or insurance coverage. It is important to carefully review all documents and speak with human resources representatives before you take any action to determine what responsibilities your employer has toward your medical care while off work on a claims basis.

With this in mind, the next section of this article will discuss the claims process for health insurance when going on workers’ comp and examine what an employee should do next when filing a claim.

Claims Process

The claims process for workers’ comp insurance benefits can be lengthy and complex. In almost all cases, the employee must submit a written notice to their employer stating that they have been injured or are ill due to their job duties. If the employer does not dispute the claim, then the employee will typically receive a notice of approval from their insurer.

At this point, the insurer will begin paying out benefits, including medical expenses, lost wages and disability compensation. However, if the employer disputes the claim, then there may be additional steps involved in resolving the issue before any payments can be made. In some cases, a dispute over a workers’ comp claim may require mediation or a hearing before a workers’ comp board in order to reach an agreement on compensation.

In addition to these payments, some employers may also offer additional benefits to injured employees such as vocational rehabilitation or access to medical specialists. It is important to understand what type of benefits you are entitled to under your employer’s workers’ comp policy and how to apply for them.

By understanding the claims process and knowing what benefits you may be eligible for, you can ensure that you are properly compensated if you suffer an injury or illness due to your job duties. The next section discusses these additional benefits that are available for injured employees.

Additional Benefits for Injured Employees

Workers’ compensation is not the only benefit to which injured employees may be entitled. Depending on the state of employment, employers may also provide temporary disability insurance, long-term disability insurance, early retirement benefits, and death benefits. These additional benefits are often offered in addition to workers’ compensation to lessen an employee’s financial burden when dealing with a work-related injury.

Temporary Disability Insurance provides income while an employee is unable to work due to a work-related injury. This type of insurance typically offers two-thirds of an employee’s salary for up to one year. For example, if an injured employee regularly earns $50,000 per year, he or she would receive $33,333 from this type of insurance for the duration of their leave of absence.

Long-term Disability Insurance offers income replacement in the event that an employee is unable to return to their job after a lengthy period of illness or injury resulting from a work-related incident. This type of insurance is designed to pay out anywhere from 50 percent to 75 percent of an injured employee’s regular salary over a defined period of time.

Early Retirement Benefits are typically offered in cases where an injured worker can no longer perform the duties of their job as a result of their injury or illness. This type of benefit will usually provide compensation equal to 70 percent or more of pre-retirement wages for a set period until normal retirement age is reached. It can also include health care coverage for the duration of the payout period.

Death Benefits enable surviving family members with financial support in the event that an employee dies as a result of his or her workplace injury or condition. Death benefits may range from lump sum payments to ongoing benefits paid out over several years. It can also include health care coverage for any surviving spouses and children.

When evaluating whether an employer offers additional benefits aside from workers’ compensation, it is important to consider how these policies might influence potential claimant awards and liability assessments associated with workplace injuries and illnesses. On one hand, providing different types of supplemental insurance may aid employees during difficult times; however, it could also raise worker’s compensation premiums in some cases and even increase legal costs associated with disputes between employers and injured employees. As such, careful consideration should be given when selecting which additional benefits are right for your organization and its workforce.

No matter what other types of benefits you offer your employees, ensuring they have access to workers’ compensation will remain paramount in addressing short-term and long-term needs following physical harm caused by hazardous work terrains or conditions.

To summarize your understanding on who pays health insurance while on workers’ comp – in conclusion -benefits provided beyond workers’ compensations vary from company policy and state laws but should be strongly considered when evaluating potential costs associated with workplace injuries and illnesses incurred by your employees. In the next section we’ll explore strategies for concluding which additional benefits best suit your organization’s needs.


In conclusion, the important takeaway is that who pays the health insurance while on workers’ compensation is a complex issue – typically it depends on the company and the individual’s role within the organization. An employee’s exact benefits may be negotiation-based, and both employer and employee must know their rights when it comes to workers’ comp health insurance benefits.

On one hand, employers may agree to pay for medical expenses related to an injury, as well as continue health insurance coverage while an employee is out on leave. On the other hand, employers could dispute any form of payment related to medical costs incurred by an injured worker. In this case, employees may still be able to apply for public assistance programs or other avenues to cover their costs.

At the end of the day, understanding your rights when it comes to workers’ compensation and its related benefits can help ensure you receive appropriate coverage during an extended leave from work. The best way to accomplish this is by reading through your company’s policies and contracts thoroughly in order to determine what rights and obligations apply in your unique situation. However, not all employers follow federal guidelines or opt for private plans when it comes to providing health insurance for employees on workers’ comp; always check with your human resources department for specific details related to workers’ compensation benefits in your workplace.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions with Explanations

Who is responsible for paying health insurance premiums while an employee is receiving workers’ comp?

The short answer to who is responsible for paying health insurance premiums while an employee is receiving workers’ comp is the employer. The employer must still keep the worker covered under their employer-sponsored health insurance plan, as required by many state laws. In addition, it is important to note that workers’ comp benefits are not income and therefore cannot be used to cover health insurance premiums. Therefore, the employer is left with responsibility of paying the necessary premiums in order for the employee’s health insurance coverage to remain in effect until they are able to return to work.


Questions about health insurance coverage while on workers’ comp can vary depending on the specific details of your state and circumstances. Generally, most states provide financial assistance to cover medical costs related to a work-related injury or illness, though there may be restrictions or time limits for this coverage. Additionally, depending on the severity of the injury or illness, some employers may have to provide full or partial reimbursement to the employee for health insurance premiums during their period of workers’ compensation. Each situation is different, so it is important to discuss your state’s laws and regulations with an experienced attorney in order to determine what type of benefits you may be eligible to receive.

What coverage is included in workers’ comp insurance?

Workers’ compensation insurance provides a variety of benefits to employees injured in the course of their employment. It typically covers medical costs, any permanent disability or disfigurement, lost wages while an employee is unable to work (including cost-of-living adjustments) and death benefits for dependents. It also helps cover legal fees in cases where an employer is found liable for causing an accident or illness. As workers’ comp varies from state to state and employers can opt for additional coverage, it is best to check with your employer or insurer for specific details on what will be covered.

Can an employer deny payment of health insurance premiums while an employee is receiving workers’ comp?

Yes, an employer can deny payment of health insurance premiums while an employee is receiving workers’ comp. This is because the worker’s compensation benefit is meant to provide financial relief for the time employees are unable to work due to job-related injuries or illnesses. That means that employers are not obligated to provide additional financial assistance by continuing to pay health insurance premiums on behalf of their injured workers, especially when they are already receiving benefits from workers’ compensation.

In some cases, employers may choose to maintain health coverage through continued premium payments during a worker’s compensation period; however, ultimately, it is up to the individual employer and state laws. Thus, it is important for all employees to familiarize themselves with their specific state laws in regards to workers’ compensation and health benefits.

What should an employee do if their employer is not paying their health insurance while on workers’ comp?

If an employee’s employer is not paying for health insurance while on workers’ comp, the employee must take proactive steps to ensure that their medical needs are still met. The first step should be to contact their employer and ask if they are covered. If the answer is no, the employee should then contact their state’s department of labor or their local workers’ compensation board to see if any other benefits are available. In some cases, employers may provide additional coverage through their health insurance plans or the state might offer assistance.

In addition, if the employee was injured at work, filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits can help cover medical costs and lost wages while they are unable to work. This can provide an additional source of income until they are able to return to work.

Ultimately, it is important for employees who have been injured on the job and need health care coverage while off work to understand both their rights and what resources are available to them so that they can continue to seek treatment and receive the financial support they need.