A Relationship You Can Depend On!
Q. Why HWCF?
A. HWCF does one thing: Workers' Compensation Insurance in the State of Alabama. We do this for one line of business: Healthcare. This specialization allows us to understand what is required to control the real cost associated with providing workers' compensation for the healthcare industry. We recognize that there is a true cost that is much more than contributions paid.
Q. Who needs Workers' Compensation Insurance?
A. You are required to carry WC coverage if you have 5 employees whether they are part time or full time.
Q. How is my experience mod determined?
A. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has developed a formula that is based on your experience for the prior 3 years not including the current year. In 2012 your mod will include the years 2010, 2009, 2008. The Fund rates the mod of its members but follows the NCCI model. The Fund can provide a detailed explanation of your mod.
Q. Should I exclude highly paid executive officers?
A. It depends. Think about it before you do it. Click on this article for more detail.
Q. Who qualifies for the executive officer salary cap?
A. Any employee who is actually an executive officer as defined by your company charter and corporate By Laws.
Q. Why do you audit the payroll each year?
A. You provide the annual estimated payroll at the beginning of each year. This is an estimate based on your best judgment. The audit is designed to provide the actual payroll against the estimated payroll. The Fund will request either that an auditor audit your books or a volunteer or self-audit.
Q: How do I report an employee's on the job injury?
A: You must complete a State of Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, WCC Form 2, "Employer's First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease". Click here to file a claim.
Q: Are all injuries that occur while the employee is on the clock or on employer's premises compensable?
A. No, for an injury to be compensable, it must "arise out of and in the course of the employment". If an employee makes a request for workers' compensation benefits, please complete a First Report of Injury so that HWCF can investigate for a determination of compensability.
Q: How do you calculate an employee's average weekly wage?
A: An employee's average weekly wage is based on a gross average of employee's wages for the 52 week period prior to the injury date. Fringe benefits are to be included only if they are paid by the employer, but not continued following injury/illness. An employee's average weekly wage will be verified by a wage statement.
Q: How is an employee's weekly compensation rate calculated?
A: An employee's compensation rate is calculated as 66 2/3% of the employee's average weekly wage. This rate is subject to a maximum and minimum amount which is determined on an annual basis by the State of Alabama. The applicable maximum and minimum rate is based on the employee's date of injury.
Q: Are indemnity benefits received by the employee taxable?
Q: Is there a waiting period before the employee is entitled to receive workers' compensation indemnity benefits?
A: There is a three day waiting period before compensation begins. The first day of disability is the fourth day, excused by an authorized physician, that the employee is out of work. If, however, an employee is placed off work by an authorized physician for 21 days or more the initial three day waiting period is paid.
Q: Can the employee obtain treatment from a physician that they choose?
A: No, the employer has the right to select or pre-approve the authorized treating physician. If an employee seeks treatment from an unauthorized physician for non-emergency treatment, the employee may be responsible for payment of the charges.
Q: Can a medical provider bill a claimant for the balance of authorized and related charges not covered under the State of Alabama Workers' Compensation Fee Schedule?
Q: Does an employee have the right to request another authorized treating physician if they
A: Yes, an employee can request and receive a panel of four physicians from which to select a new treating doctor. The physician selected will then be the employee's authorized treating physician for the duration of their claim.
Q: Are employees entitled to reimbursement for mileage to and from medical providers?
A: Mileage cost for travel to and from a pre-approved medical and rehabilitation provider will be reimbursed at the State of Alabama mileage rate. Only one round trip per visit shall be approved. Mileage to a healthcare or rehabilitation provider that is incurred between the employee's work location and their normal residence is not eligible for payment.
Q: Is there a statute of limitation on workers' compensation benefits?
A: There is a two year statute of limitation from the date of injury or the last day indemnity benefits are paid. There is no statute for medical benefits.
Q: What should I do if I receive a workers' compensation lawsuit?
A: Please contact HWCF immediately and forward a copy of the lawsuit. We only have 30 days to file an answer on your behalf. We will be responsible for assigning defense counsel.
Q: What is Loss Control?
A: Loss Control is a proven management technique by which the employer promotes safe practices and behaviors within an organization by identifying and remediating potential safety issues.
Q: Why should an employer use a Loss Control Specialist?
A: Most frequently a Loss Control Specialist is able to "look beyond the trees into the forest". Simply put, the Loss Control Specialist is able to interpret data, actual losses, and environmental circumstances to develop a workplace strategy that will result in a safer workplace.
Q: How much does it cost to use the HWCF Loss Control Specialist?
A: Members of the HWCF pay no additional charges for the specialized services offered.
Q: How often should Loss Control services be used?
A: As often as the member feels that it is necessary.
Q: What are the qualifications of the HWCF Loss Control Specialist?
A: Our Loss Control Specialist is a Certified Healthcare Safety Professional and an OSHA Authorized General Industry Trainer.