Frequently asked questions

We’re all about providing you the information you need, without having to pick up the phone. If you have questions about us, workers' compensation, or how the process begins, look here. You might find the answer you need with out having to call.

Frequently Asked Coverage Questions

Q. Why HWCF?

A. HWCF does one thing: Workers' Compensation Insurance in the State of Alabama. We do this for one line of business: Healthcare. This specialization allows us to understand what is required to control the real cost associated with providing workers' compensation for the healthcare industry. We recognize that there is an actual cost that is much more than contributions paid.

Q. Who needs Workers' Compensation Insurance?

 A. You are required to carry WC coverage if you have five or more employees whether they are part- time or full-time.

Q. How is my experience mod determined?

A. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has developed a formula that is based on your experience for the prior three years, not including the current year. In 2018 your mod will include the years 2016, 2015, 2014. The Fund rates the mod of its members but follows the NCCI model. The Fund can provide a detailed explanation of your mod.

Q. Should I exclude highly paid executive officers?

A. It depends. Think about it before you do it. Click on this article .for more detail.

Q. Who qualifies for the executive officer salary cap?

A. Any employee who is an executive officer as defined by your company charter and corporate By Laws.

Q. Why do you audit the payroll each year?

A. You provide the annual estimated payroll at the beginning of each year based on your best judgment. The ensuing audit is designed to determine the actual payroll against the estimated payroll. The Fund will request either that an auditor review your books or agree to except a volunteer or self-audit.

Frequently Asked Loss Control Questions

Q: What is Loss Control?

A: Loss Control is a proven management technique by which the employer promotes safe practices and behaviors within an organization by identifying and remediating potential safety issues.

Q: Why should an employer use a Loss Control Specialist?

A: A Loss Control Specialist can "look beyond the trees into the forest." Simply put, the Loss Control Specialist can interpret data, actual losses, and environmental circumstances to develop a workplace strategy that will result in a safer workplace.

Q: How much does it cost to use HWCF Loss Control Specialist?

A: Members of the HWCF pay no additional charges for the specialized services offered.

Q: How often should Loss Control services be used?

A: As often as the member or Loss Control specialist feels that it is necessary.

Frequently Asked Claims Questions

Q: How do I report an employee's on the job injury?

A: You must complete a Department of Labor, WCC Form 2, "Employer's First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease." Click here to file a claim.

Q: Are all injuries that occur while the employee is on the clock or on employer's premises compensable?

A. No, for an injury to be compensable, it must "arise out of and in the course of the employment." If an employee requests workers' compensation benefits, please complete a First Report of Injury so that HWCF may investigate for a determination of compensability

Q: How do you calculate an employee's average weekly wage?

A: An employee's average weekly wage is based on a gross average of employee's wages for the 52 week period before the injury date. Fringe benefits are to be included only if they are paid by the employer, but not continued following injury/illness. An employee's average weekly wage will be verified by a wage statement.

Q: How is an employee's weekly compensation rate calculated?

A: An employee's compensation rate is calculated as 66 2/3% of the employee's average weekly wage. This rate is subject to a maximum and minimum amount determined on an annual basis by the State of Alabama. The applicable maximum and minimum rates are based on the employee's date of injury.

Q: Are indemnity benefits received by the employee taxable?

A: No.

Q: Is there a waiting period before the employee is entitled to receive workers' compensation indemnity benefits?

A: There is a three day waiting period before compensation begins. The first day of disability is the fourth day, excused by an authorized physician, that the employee is out of work. If, however, an employee is placed off work by an authorized physician for 21 days or more the initial three day waiting period is paid.

Q: Can the employee obtain treatment from a physician that they choose?

A: No, the employer has the right to select or pre-approve the authorized treating physician. If an employee seeks treatment from an unauthorized physician for non-emergency treatment, the employee may be responsible for payment of the charges.

Q: Can a medical provider bill a claimant for the balance of authorized and related charges not covered under the State of Alabama Workers' Compensation Fee Schedule?

A: No.

Q: Does an employee have the right to request another authorized treating physician if they become dissatisfied?

A: Yes, an employee may make a one time request and receive a panel of four physicians from which to select a new treating doctor. The physician selected will then be the employee's authorized treating physician for the duration of their claim.

Q: Are employees entitled to reimbursement for mileage to and from medical providers?

A: Mileage cost for travel to and from a pre-approved medical and rehabilitation providers will be reimbursed at the State of Alabama mileage rate. Only one round trip per visit shall be approved.

Q: Is there a statute of limitation on workers' compensation benefits?

A: There is a two-year statute of limitation from the date of injury or the last day indemnity benefits are paid. There is no statute for medical benefits.

Q: What should I do if I receive a workers' compensation lawsuit?

A: Please contact HWCF immediately and forward a copy of the lawsuit. We only have 30 days to file an answer on your behalf. We will be responsible for assigning defense counsel.