Like one of the many hurricanes and tropical storms that hit Florida, the current worldwide health emergency has devasted the state. The economy has been decimated, while nearly four million residents are unemployed and applying for workers’ compensation benefits.
In the midst of all the chaos, hard-working Floridians still employed and considered “essential” have stayed at their respective posts. From grocery store clerks to hospital workers, their sacrifice has helped the state and its thankful residents soldier on through difficult times.
However, not everyone is appreciative as a troubling trend is impacting those very Florida workers who tested positive for COVID-19.
An Alarming Number of Workers’ Comp Rejections During a Pandemic
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that protects both employees and employers. Those who suffer injuries during the course of their respective jobs should have access to medical benefits and “made whole.”
Almost 50 percent of first responders, health care professionals, and workers in other industries have received formal denials of their nearly 12,000 workers’ compensation claims. All were infected with the coronavirus and filed by the last day of July.
Private insurers who provide coverage to employer’s throughout the state accounted for 62 percent of rejected claims. Specifically, protective workers accounted for 4,345 filings, health care professionals filed 3,432 claims, and service workers (restaurant, hotel, and retail workers) pursued 2,897 workers’ comp claims.
Florida’s leadership, from the Governor to the legislature, is silent when it comes to these rejections in one of the worst health crises in the state, the nation, and the world.
Meanwhile, essential workers not infected yet by the coronavirus continue to put in the hours to help and protect their fellow Floridians. Sadly, those who contract the illness during their day-to-day duties may find that workers’ compensation insurers are more interested in their respective bottom lines.