As an employer in Needham, Massachusetts, you are expected to provide your employees with a safe and healthy workplace. Unfortunately, even when all the proper safety protocols are being following, accidental injuries and occupational illnesses sometimes happen. In fact, in 2019 alone, Massachusetts workers reported approximately 86,000 on-the-job injuries.
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect you and your employees by covering the associated medical treatments and compensating workers for lost wages.
Some workers’ compensation insurance companies are better suited than others to cover businesses in certain industries. A local independent insurance agent can help you find the best and most affordable coverage for your business. Find an insurance agent in or near Needham to learn more.
Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Required in Needham?
All employers in Needham must remain in compliance with Massachusetts state law. In this commonwealth, you are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if you have at least one full- or part-time employee.
There are very few exceptions. For instance, it is not necessary to purchase coverage for sole proprietors, partners, LLC members, or domestic help who work fewer than 16 hours a week.
All employers are required by law to post a workers’ compensation notice at every work site so that employees are aware of their rights and the procedures for getting compensation for injuries.
Failure to meet the Massachusetts’ requirements for carrying coverage opens your business up to lawsuits and legal action. If caught, your company can be issued a Stop-Work order and face fines and penalties. Additionally, you, as the business owner, could potentially face jail time.
How Much Does Workers' Comp Insurance Cost in Needham, MA?
The good news for employers in Needham is that workers’ compensation insurance rates in Massachusetts are some of the lowest in the country. Your costs will be based mainly on your company’s safety history, the types of work your employees do, and how much they are paid.
Each specific type of job is assigned a classification code, and rates for each class code are regulated by the Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts (WCRIBMA) according to how likely the jobs are to result in serious injuries.
Commercial insurers use these rates as a starting point and can raise or lower rates in accordance with qualified discounts, incentives, and experience modifiers.
Base Rate Examples
The following are samples of base rates paid per every $50,000 in employee payroll for three very different jobs found in Needham, MA.
- Tree trimmers/pruners/removers: $4,355 a year
- Short-haul and long-haul truck drivers: $1,645 a year
- Salespeople: $25 a year
As you can see, these rates can vary significantly from one job to another. This is because the person who is taking down a 50-foot tree in your backyard is more likely to be hurt on the job than the one who is trying to sell you a new washer and dryer.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover in Needham, MA?
Workers’ compensation is designed to cover medical treatments, disability pay, and death benefits if workers are injured or killed due to work related injuries or occupational illnesses.
By providing this coverage, this insurance not only protects your workers’ best interests, it also shields your business from potential liability lawsuits.
Coverage for Medical Treatments
Workers’ compensation is designed to cover all costs associated with treatment for work-related injuries and occupational illnesses including ambulance rides, hospital stays, emergency treatment, medical appointments, follow-up care, prescribed medications, devices like crutches or slings when needed, and physical therapy. Employees should pay nothing out of pocket.
Workers’ compensation insurance can also reimburse employees for their mileage to and from medical appointments and the pharmacy. Reimbursement rates are set by the state and are currently set at 45 cents per mile.
Coverage for Disability Pay
Disability benefits are designed to cover a large portion of your employee’s lost wages if they need to take more than six days to recuperate.
There are different types of disability, including the following.
- Total temporary disability: This is when an employee is temporarily unable to work at all while recuperating from an injury or occupational illness. In Massachusetts, employees can receive 60% of their average weekly pay for up to 156 weeks. The first six days of disability are not covered unless the employee requires more than 21 days to recover.
- Partial temporary disability: This is when an employee is approved for light-duty or part-time work while recovering from an injury or occupational illness. Workers’ compensation can make up 75% of the difference in pay if the injured worker is earning less money in his or her reduced capacity. This coverage can continue for up to 260 weeks.
- Total permanent disability: This is when an employee’s injury is so severe that the injured employee is unable to work in any capacity and will remain unable to work for the foreseeable future. In this case, the injured employee can receive two-thirds of their average weekly pay for as long as they are disabled. This benefit allows for annual cost-of-living increases.
The weekly benefit paid out for workers’ compensation disability cannot exceed the average weekly pay in Massachusetts, which as of October 1, 2020, stands at $1,487.78 a week. This amount is updated annually.
Coverage for Fatal Work Injuries
Tragically, work injuries are sometimes fatal. Workers’ compensation insurance seeks to ease the burden on surviving family members by providing them with some financial compensation.
If a work injury or occupation illness results in death, workers’ compensation can cover the employee’s burial costs, within reason. Additionally, it will provide the employee’s spouse and dependents with bi-weekly benefits of two-thirds of the deceased employees average wage. This benefit can continue as long as the employee’s spouse does not remarry.
Learn more about workers’ compensation death benefits by talking with a local insurance agent.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Not Cover in Needham, MA?
Workers’ compensation claims are occasionally denied. This may happen if a claim is filed too long after the injury took place or if the injury if the claim is for an injury or illness that falls outside the scope of what is covered by this insurance.
Workers’ compensation will typically not cover injuries or illnesses if the insurance company believes the following.
- The injury occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The injury occurred while the employee was engaged in illegal or criminal activity.
- The injury occurred outside of working hours.
- The injury or illness is related to a pre-existing condition.
- The claim is being filed for a worker who is not an official employee of the insured.
If you believe that your claim was unjustly denied, you can file an appeal with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.
Where Can Needham Business Owners Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
In Massachusetts, workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased through any of the many available commercial providers who are licensed to issue coverage in this state.
If your business is very high risk and you cannot find an insurance company that will cover you, you can obtain coverage through the Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau. Coverage through the WCRIBMA will cost a lot more than through a private insurer, but it is available as a last resort option.
Alternatively, with approval, your business has the option to self-insure. To do so, you must apply for approval while demonstrating that your business has the financial means to cover worker injuries.
Most businesses in Massachusetts purchase coverage through a commercial provider.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent in Needham, MA?
If you are an employer in Needham and you are looking for the best and most affordable workers’ compensation insurance for your business, a local independent agent can help.
These agents can match you up with an insurance company that specializes in covering businesses like yours. Your agent can also ensure that you are getting your policy at a competitive price by helping you obtain and compare customized quotes.
Discover the many benefits of working with a local insurance professional. Contact an independent insurance agent near you to get started.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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