Travel Mileage and Prescription Medication Expenses in Louisiana Workers Compensation

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In Louisiana workers compensation, an injured employee is entitled to have all of his or her accident-related medical bills paid by the employer's workers compensation insurance company.

These medical bills include all necessary and reasonable medical expenses pertaining to the work-related injury.

And included in all necessary and reasonable medical expenses are the costs of prescription medications.

But also included are the travel expenses required to obtain the necessary and reasonable medical treatment pertaining to the work-related injury. 

Mileage and Travel Cost Reimbursement in Louisiana Workers Compensation

An employee injured on the job in Louisiana is entitled to be compensated for the cost of traveling to and from any medical appointments or treatments, and for the cost of traveling to and from any pharmacies in order to obtain any medications related to necessary care, and for the cost of traveling to and from any vocational rehabilitation.

The specific law reads: "the employer shall be liable for the actual expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred by the employee for mileage reasonably and necessarily traveled by the employee in order to obtain the medical services, medicines, and prosthetic devices, which the employer is required to furnish under this Section, and for the vocational rehabilitation-related mileage traveled by the employee at the direction of the employer."

In order to be reimbursed for mileage expenses, the injured employee must submit a mileage reimbursement form monthly.

The employee should be reimbursed for mileage expenses within 60 days of the insurance company's receipt of the mileage form. 

Calculation of Mileage Benefits

The amount of transportation reimbursement is based on the miles (or "mileage") traveled to and from the medical provider or pharmacy.  

As of 2019, this mileage reimbursement rate is $0.54 (or 54 cents) per mile.  

Thus, if an injured worker traveled a total of 100 miles in a month to and from medical providers and pharmacies, then this worker would be entitled to $54.00 in mileage reimbursement for that month.

Also, the mileage expenses must be "reasonably and necessarily incurred for obtaining services, medicines, and prosthetic devices," so the employee is expected to take a direct travel route to the workers compensation-related destination.

Prescription Medication Cost Reimbursement in Louisiana Workers Compensation

In Louisiana workers compensation, an injured employee is entitled to have all of his or her accident-related medical bills paid by the employer's workers compensation insurance company.

These medical bills include the costs of prescription medications.

Typically, no advance approval by the workers compensation insurance company is required for prescription medications.

Nonetheless, many times the workers compensation insurance company will already have submitted its billing information to the pharmacy, thereby freeing the injured employee from having to pay for the prescription medications up front and out-of-pocket.

Also, some insurance companies provide a prescription card to the employees, so that the employee can just use the prescription card at the pharmacy, and not have to pay any out-of-pocket co-payment or deductible. 

Unfortunately, some workers compensation insurance companies require the pharmacy to contact the insurance company each time the employee needs a prescription filled. 

However, the workers compensation insurance company - and not the injured employee - typically gets to choose and decide which pharmacy will provide the necessary prescription medication drugs to the injured employee.

The Louisiana Statute for Mileage, Travel and Prescription Medication Cost Reimbursement in Louisiana Workers Compensation

The Louisiana statute mandating the reimbursement mileage, travel and prescription medication cost reimbursement is La. R.S. 23:1203, which reads as follows:

§1203. Duty to furnish medical and vocational rehabilitation expenses; prosthetic devices; other expenses

A. In every case coming under this Chapter, the employer shall furnish all necessary drugs, supplies, hospital care and services, medical and surgical treatment, and any nonmedical treatment recognized by the laws of this state as legal, and shall utilize such state, federal, public, or private facilities as will provide the injured employee with such necessary services. Medical care, services, and treatment may be provided by out-of-state providers or at out-of-state facilities when such care, services, and treatment are not reasonably available within the state or when it can be provided for comparable costs.

B. The obligation of the employer to furnish such care, services, treatment, drugs, and supplies, whether in state or out of state, is limited to the reimbursement determined to be the mean of the usual and customary charges for such care, services, treatment, drugs, and supplies, as determined under the reimbursement schedule annually published pursuant to R.S. 23:1034.2 or the actual charge made for the service, whichever is less. Any out-of-state provider is also to be subject to the procedures established under the office of workers' compensation administration utilization review rules.

C. The employer shall furnish to the employee the necessary cost of repair to or the replacement of any prosthetic device damaged or destroyed by accident in the course and scope and arising out of such employment, including but not limited to damage or destruction of eyeglasses, artificial limbs, hearing aids, dentures, or any such prosthetic devices whatsoever.

D. In addition, the employer shall be liable for the actual expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred by the employee for mileage reasonably and necessarily traveled by the employee in order to obtain the medical services, medicines, and prosthetic devices, which the employer is required to furnish under this Section, and for the vocational rehabilitation-related mileage traveled by the employee at the direction of the employer. When the employee uses his own vehicle, he shall be reimbursed at the same rate per mile as established by the state of Louisiana for reimbursement of state employees for use of their personal vehicle on state business. The office shall inform the employee of his right to reimbursement for mileage.

E. Upon the first request for authorization pursuant to R.S. 23:1142(B)(1), for a claimant's medical care, service, or treatment, the payor, as defined in R.S. 23:1142(A), shall communicate to the claimant information, in plain language, regarding the procedure for requesting an additional medical opinion regarding a medical examination in the event a dispute arises as to the condition of the employee or the employee's capacity to work, and the procedure for appealing the denial of medical treatment to the medical director as provided in R.S. 23:1203.1. A payor shall not deny medical care, service, or treatment to a claimant unless the payor can document a reasonable and diligent effort in communicating such information. A payor who denies medical care, service, or treatment without making such an effort may be fined an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars or the cost of the medical care, service, or treatment, whichever is more.

Amended by Acts 1952, No. 322, §1; Acts 1956, No. 282, §1; Acts 1968, No. 103, §1; Acts 1975, No. 583, §6, eff. Sept. 1, 1975; Acts 1976, No. 400, §1; Acts 1977, No. 530, §1. Acts 1983, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 1, §1, eff. July 1, 1983; Acts 1987, No. 290, §1; Acts 1988, No. 938, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. June 26, 1989; Acts 1997, No. 452, §1, eff. June 22, 1997; Acts 2001, No. 898, §1; Acts 2012, No. 235, §1; Acts 2017, No. 381, §2, eff. June 23, 2017.

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