As most people in Louisiana are aware, the current Ebola outbreak that began in West Africa -- and is the worst in the disease's history -- has spread to Europe and the United States. While containment of this deadly disease has proven very difficult, there is hope that with increased emergency protocols and more countries exposed to the disease that a solution will present itself in the near future.
What you may not expect in regards to Ebola is for the disease to have an impact on workers' compensation. But, sure enough, it will impact workers' comp. Health care workers in the U.S. who are around the disease and could potentially be infected (or already have been infected) could make workers' comp claims.
Remember, workers' compensation isn't just for workplace accidents that cause injury or death. Workers' comp also covers financial losses and medical bills due to an illness that is obtained during the course of work. In this vein, the Ebola outbreak really does fit in with workers' comp rules for health care workers and medical personnel.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the workers' comp industry will be dealt a "relatively limited hit" due to Ebola, as will the life insurance industry.
Obviously, this is quite specific. Ebola barely has a foothold in the U.S. and there are many reasons why the outbreak shouldn't be as bad here as it has been in West Africa. However, it is still unnerving and we need to take the issue seriously. When it comes to workplace safety and Ebola, health care workers should know that workers' comp is available for them should they contract the dreaded disease.
Source: Carrier Management, "Workers Compensation Could Take Small Hit From Ebola Outbreak: I.I.I.," Oct. 13, 2014