Workers Compensation: Recently Passed New Jersey Law Curtails Balance Billing of Injured Employees

A few months ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed Assembly Bill No. 2652 into law. Before passage of the new legislation, injured employees were directly and personally on the hook for portions of their medical bills that were disputed by medical providers. An employee could receive medical treatment for a work-related injury in a hospital, doctor’s office, or otherwise—treatment authorized by the employer and/or the employer’s insurer—only to be billed for some disputed charge. This so-called “balance billing” of employees created hardships for many injured workers, especially those struggling financially, a situation that often goes hand-in-hand with physical injury.

“The past practice of balance billing injured workers for authorized care,” a recent article on the subject stated, “caused tremendous anxiety for workers and their families.”

Under the new law, however, this practice is no longer permitted in New Jersey: “Fees for treatments or medical services that have been authorized by the employer or its carrier or its third party administrator…shall not be charged against or collectible from the injured worker.”

In addition, the law goes on to amend a few other related aspects of workers’ compensation medical billing. Not only may medical providers not charge employees for the disputed charges, but medical providers may also not delay treatment of the injured worker while the dispute is being worked out—nor may other types of compensation be similarly held up.

And, quite significantly, the law changes the process medical providers need to undertake in order to have their disputes adjudicated. Before the law, ordinary civil courts often handled such disputes. Employers and insurance carriers were required to expend significant resources litigating these cases against the medical providers. Now, the Division of Workers’ Compensation—with its expertise and well-established procedures for medical reimbursements—have exclusive jurisdiction over these disputes.

For both employers and employees alike, the new law is a helpful and efficient change to New Jersey workers’ compensation law.

For more information, visit New Jersey Bans Medical Providers From Charging Claimants for Work-Related Medical Expenses.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact Gaylord Popp, LLC at 609-246-0668.