The problem with these practices is that insurance companies tend to use the information in the detriment of the employee.
Most employers nowadays try to make the work environment as engaging as possible for their employees. Whether we are talking about free breakfast, break rooms, or training programs, companies offer these perks to increase employee retention and boost productivity. And, employees have come to expect them too.
But, could a perk like a wellness program affect current and future workers compensation claims?
What Are Wellness Programs?
A wellness program is a technique used by companies as an incentive for employees to perform certain health-related activities. Employees receive bonuses, prizes, or cash for wearing a pedometer, for example, or disclosing information about their medical history.
While the employer might have the best intentions at heart when developing these programs, insurance companies could use the information gathered against you. If that’s the case for you, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with a St. Louis work injury attorney.
How a Wellness Program Can Affect Your Claim
A wellness program encourages employees to share personal medical information with their employer. We’re talking here about their family’s medical history, chronic conditions, existing allergies, past injuries and information about their lifestyle outside the workplace.
While harmless at first sight, this information can turn into a powerful weapon in the hands of insurance companies when you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
A Possible Scenario
Picture this: your job requires you to spend long hours in front of a computer screen. You start experiencing headaches, eye strain, and poor vision. You file a workers compensation claim, arguing that your employer doesn’t provide enough breaks and the amount of time you have to spend in front of the computer has affected your vision.
But, a few years ago, you participated in a wellness program where you told your manager that you have a mild case of short-sightedness and can’t engage in distance-vision activities. You also admitted that you love reading, although you know it may hurt your eyes even more.
The manager passed this information to the HR department which told the insurance company. Now, when you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits for your vision problems, the insurance company might argue that it’s not the work environment that worsened your condition, but your pastime activities. Moreover, it’s the natural evolution of your condition and it has nothing to do with your job.
A Workers Compensation Lawyer Can Help You
Wellness programs have their fair share of benefits. We support initiatives that strive to help employees focus on their health and improve it. The problem with these practices is that insurance companies tend to use the information in the detriment of the employee.
If you’ve been denied a workers compensation claim and you want to dispute the insurance company’s decision, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, we represent work injury victims throughout Missouri. Handling all cases on a contingency basis, you owe us no attorney fees unless we recover the compensation you deserve.