Injured works and ill workers in North Carolina and Virginia are entitled to have all their reasonable and necessary medical expenses paid. This includes more than just paying hospitals for surgeries and hospital visits, doctors for their reviews and treatments, and therapists for their continual care. It includes more than the cost for medical devices and prescriptions.
Workers also have the right to have the insurance company for the employer pay for the cost to get to the hospitals and their doctors. This is especially fair because the employer chooses the doctors patients can treat with and the choice is what’s best for the employer, not what’s best or convenient for the employee.
What reimbursement costs are allowed?
In both North Carolina and Virginia, the mileage and transportation costs include the cost to pay for cabs and rideshare services, public transportation, parking lot fees, and tolls. For employees who drive their car to the medical provider’s offices, they are entitled to a mileage allowance.
Reimbursement costs don’t include the cost of gasoline to get to these medical offices and they don’t cover trips to the pharmacy. Pharmacy costs generally aren’t covered because many workers and doctors can use mail pharmacy services.
According to the North Carolina Industrial Commission rules, mileage reimbursement is allowed for trips 20 miles or more (round trip – so 10 miles each way) as follows:
When and how can reimbursement for sick travel be collected?
In North Carolina, this is done through a Form 25T. If employees travel 20 miles or more round trip for medical treatment in workers’ compensation cases, they are entitled to collect for mileage at the rate of 25 cents a mile for travel prior to June 1, 2000;
- 31 cents a mile for travel between June 1, 2000 and January 17, 2006;
- 44.5 cents a mile for travel between January 18 and December 31, 2006;
- 48.5 cents a mile for travel between January 1 and December 31, 2007;
- 50.5 cents a mile for travel between January 1 and June 30, 2008;
- 58.5 cents a mile for travel between July 1 and December 31, 2008;
- 55 cents a mile for travel during 2009;
- 50 cents a mile for travel during 2010;
- 51 cents a mile for travel between January 1 and June 30, 2011;
- 55.5 cents a mile for travel between July 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012;
- 56.5 cents a mile for travel between January 1 and December 31, 2013;
- 56 cents a mile for travel between January 1 and December 31, 2014;
- 57.5 cents a mile for travel between January 1 and December 31, 2015;
- 54 cents a mile for travel on or after January 1, 2016.
The IRS sets the reimbursement rates so the amount workers can be reimbursed is the same in Virginia as it is for North Carolina. As of this writing, it is .555 cents per mile. In Virginia, there is no prescribed form to recover mileage, but it should be done clearly and legibly, with each date of service listed as well as the mileage roundtrip for each date.
In addition to transportation expenses, in North Carolina: “Employees are entitled to lodging and meal expenses, at the rate established for state employees by the North Carolina Director of Budget, when it is medically necessary that the employee stay overnight at a location away from the employee’s usual place of residence.”
Your North Carolina and Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer will help you obtain and fill out the correct reimbursement forms. It’s critical that you document all your travel expenses. This means getting receipts where you can and keeping a travel and mileage journal.