House Bill Supports Employer's Right to Recover Health Care Costs in Workers' Injury

June 8, 2006 ( - A provision in the House version of the pending pension legislation could make it easier for health care insurers and employers to get some of the money workers are awarded in personal injury suits.

class=”articletitle”> The Wall Street Journal reports that the Senate version does not contain the provision that could trump state law and some federal court precedents which have restricted to some degree an insurer’s right to recover some of the health care costs paid out to injured employees.

class=”articletitle”> According to the Journal, even though most health plans can recover the cost of medical care from worker settlements, some rulings and laws have put caps on just how much of the settlement can go to the insurer or employer. The House bill could weaken these protections by widening the right of recovery – or subrogation – for all employees who have received a settlement, according to the newspaper.

class=”articletitle”> Critics of the provision say that it could leave the injured party with no compensation at all after a settlement, if insurers are allowed dip into the awarded money first.

class=”articletitle”> Supporters of the measure, however, argue that giving health plan’s a way to recovery with employees’ legal settlements would be one way to stifle total health care costs.

class=”articletitle”> The Senate and House have yet to reconcile the two versions of pension reform legislation The reconciliation process started in March and is expected to continue for weeks (See House and Senate Must Now Reconcile Reform Bills).