South Florida Hospital News
Monday March 1, 2021

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June 2005 - Volume 1 - Issue 11

Workers Compensation Insurance – Know the Facts

In a time of rising costs associated with operating a medical practice, it is a good idea for physicians and practice administrators to familiarize themselves with their workers compensation insurance. The following will provide some insight into a few of the features of the Florida workers compensation policy relative to the medical community that are misunderstood or unknown and could potentially prove costly to a practice.

Coverage Requirements

Florida Law requires any employer with four (4) or more employees (full or part-time) to provide workers compensation coverage to their employees. In a non-construction business such as a medical practice, the only individuals that can request exemption from the policy are officers of the corporation listed as such with the division of corporations. Members of a limited liability corporation (LLC) are automatically exempt, as are sole practitioners with no corporation. Independent contractors are required to prove that they are truly independent.

If your practice utilizes independent contractors, I would recommend that you visit the workers compensation division web site and click "compliance" to determine what the independent contractor needs to do to be compliant. In addition to the division requirements, I recommend you have any independent contractor sign an affidavit confirming they are responsible for their own insurance including workers compensation coverage.

I would also recommend that even if your practice has less than four (4) employees, that you secure coverage for the employees. The coverage is inexpensive compared to other forms of insurance and the benefits far outweigh the cost. If one employee is out of work and treated for two weeks, the costs can easily exceed the premium for a workers compensation policy. Additionally, the employee could possibly proceed with a lawsuit against the practice or physician who does not provide coverage.

Officer Exemption vs. Non-Exemption

As previously indicated, officers of a non-construction industry can apply to be exempt from the workers compensation policy. Many physician officers are not even aware that they can be exempt from their policy, as carriers and agents do not always explain this. A simple two-page exemption form (DWC-250) is completed and mailed to the division along with your occupational license. You can request this form from your agent or insurance company.

Most physician officers choose to be exempt from the workers compensation policy due to the fact that they have disability insurance. Before you decide to apply for exemption, I would remind you that the majority of disability policies do not start providing benefits until 60-90 days after the period of disability starts. Workers compensation benefits start on the 8th day after a work related injury.

Employed Physicians

Physicians that are not officers of the corporation and are employees MUST be included on the workers compensation policy. This is important because a physician employee’s entire payroll is used to determine their premium, unlike the physician officer whose payroll is capped. This can create a dramatic increase in the premium and is a consideration when discussing partnerships or determining the officers of the corporation.

Physicians and practice administrators should review their workers compensation policies at least once a year to determine if any of the aforementioned situations apply. As with all forms of insurance, the laws and carrier guidelines are constantly changing. If you have additional questions or concerns you should contact your agent, the carrier or feel free to call me at (800) 966-2120.

Tom Murphy, workers compensation and medical malpractice insurance specialist agent with the firm of Danna-Gracey, Inc., can be reached at (561) 276-3553 or (800) 966-2120 or
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