Texas is one of the few states that allows employers to opt out of workers’ compensation and it also allows these employers to provide their own insurance plans when workers are injured or killed on the job. According to an investigative report by NPR and ProPublica, nearly 1.5 million employees in Texas and Oklahoma—which recently allowed employers to opt out of workers’ comp—work for employers who provide alternate insurance plans. Unfortunately, these plans are not regulated by the state and often provide significantly fewer benefits than traditional workers’ compensation.
How Opt-Out Insurance Plans Fail to Provide Benefits When Workers Are Injured
Non-subscriber workplace injury plans generally cover fewer injuries, stop paying benefits sooner, control which doctors an employee can see, and impose maximum settlement amounts. Major employers in Texas have these inadequate plans for their workers. In addition, there are widespread differences in the benefits employers provide under these plans. The following highlights how plans offered by specific employers fail to protect workers:
- Brookdale Senior Living—the largest chain of assisted living facilities—does not cover most bacterial infections.
- Costco only pays a maximum of $600 for external hearing aids while the cheapest ones at Costco cost $900.
- Costco only pays $15,000 for a loss of a finger, and Wal-Mart only pays $25,000.
- U.S. Foods, which is the second-largest food distributor, excludes from coverage any sickness or disease no matter how it was contracted. This could allow the company to not pay for medical conditions such as heatstroke, cancer, and those caused by chemical exposure—sometimes life-threatening medical problems for workers.
- McDonald’s does not cover carpel tunnel syndrome.
- Sears and other companies can deny any benefits if employees fail to report their injuries by the end of the shift. Since many problems do not develop until weeks or longer after the initial accident, this can prohibit many workers from receiving benefits.
- Taco Bell managers have the right to accompany workers to their doctor appointments.
- Many Texas plans only cover medical care for two years and strictly limit benefits for catastrophic injuries and death.
Fortunately, if you are injured in a workplace accident with a non-subscriber employer that provides these poor benefits, you have legal options. You can sue your employer for compensation if your injuries were caused by your employer’s negligence. Call us at (817) 380-4888 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team where we’ll explain your options and how we can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.