Iowa workers injured on the job would receive less medical care and benefits under a plan approved by Republican lawmakers this year.
For around 100 years the Iowa’s workers’ compensation law has acted to balance the rights of employers with those of employees. As part of the balance, if an employee is injured, they cannot sue the employer, and the employer will pay compensation benefits based on the type of injury the employee suffered while on the job.
The Republican bill, which was approved by the Iowa Legislature, makes numerous changes to Iowa’s workers’ compensation. In addition to limiting how long an injured worker can receive benefits, the bill reclassifies how a shoulder injury is compensated by moving the injury from a whole body injury to a scheduled injury. This eliminates an additional benefit an injured employee may have qualified for had the injury been classified as whole body.
Employers would also be required to take into account pre-existing conditions and past injuries in determining benefits for a new injury. Lastly, the bill no longer incentivizes employers to pay compensation benefits to injured employees on time. As a result, injured workers may have to wait years after they were injured on the job to receive compensation benefits.
These changes take effect on July 1, 2017, and apply to injuries and claims filed after that date.