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Bundled coverage for work injury and health care may be coming

It's helpful to keep current with changes in the methods of delivering workers' compensation insurance and general healthcare that are emerging in Colorado and other states. Many experts predict that changes are on the horizon. Mainly, coverage for work injury is predicted to be blended into general health care plans in coming years.

The main influence in that trend is the need and desire of larger employers to integrate all insurance into group benefits packages. That change will theoretically be easier to manage and process, considering the probable elimination of duplicated effort. With the advent of a system more or less consisting of universal health care, it becomes easier to see how all health care, including for work injury, could be unified under the same roof. It would be easy enough to use in-house code to delineate one type of coverage from another.

The advancement of technology in all business sectors makes it possible to envision a coordination of all health care and insurance coverage models across one digital platform. As more employers seek to integrate workers' compensation into comprehensive benefits packages, there are, however, various obstacles to a fast reorganization of these systems. For example, large labor organizations will have important input that must be seriously considered.

Additionally, local and state regulations and laws, dealing with a wide range of bureaucratic services and benefits, must be streamlined to work supportively alongside any new framework. Those who work in the industry predict that changes are inevitable despite the final picture being yet largely undeveloped. It's suggested that the idea may take off quicker among employers who are self-insured, large union shops, and municipalities that are often partly or fully self-insured.

In Colorado and other states, it may take public policy changes to be put into effect prior to moving forward on detailed specifications. Once society's values are clarified and unified, practical changes can be made with greater ease. Work injury coverage must be swift, as paperless as possible, and hassle-free, which are not exactly qualities of the current system.

Source: Healthcare Finance News, "Demand increases for bundling of workers' comp, health insurance", Anthony Brino, May 28, 2014

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