When you need medical treatment for a workplace injury, you may want a second opinion after your doctor explains that you need a procedure. Because you were injured at work, you should be receiving payment of your medical expenses by the workers’ compensation insurance company. Sometimes those benefits cover a second opinion, and sometimes they do not.
When You Can Get a Second Opinion
If your doctor recommends surgery, you can get a second opinion about whether surgery is necessary free of charge. The insurance company must pay for the cost of the second opinion. Also, the doctor chosen by the insurance company to conduct an independent medical examination may recommend surgery. You can get a second opinion on that recommendation too. You do not have to have surgery if you do not want it.
Sometimes, your employer or the insurance company want the second opinion after your primary treating physician or the IME doctor recommends surgery. They may question whether you actually need surgery. In that case, the insurer also must pay for the cost of the second opinion.
When You Have to Pay Out of Pocket
Workers’ compensation medical benefits usually do not cover second opinions for non-surgical treatment. You are not entitled to a second opinion on everything from physical therapy treatment plans to medication choices. If you would like a second opinion, you can pay out of pocket to talk to another doctor. See if your private health insurance will cover the cost.
If you have realized that you want a second opinion because you do not trust your doctor or believe there are better medical options, you may be able to pick a new provider. You can only change primary treating physicians once in the first 60 days after you begin treatment. After 60 days has passed, you cannot change primary treating physicians without approval from the employer’s insurance company, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, or a workers’ compensation judge. Not trusting your doctor’s medical opinion may qualify you for a change of provider. The new provider can give you the second opinion that you want.
Need help getting a second opinion on whether you need surgery for your workplace injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.