Mileage No Longer a ‘Reasonable’ Expense?

Arbitrarily changing a practice of more than 20 years’ standing, insurers are no longer reimbursing service providers for mileage when they must travel to treat seriously injured clients. 

This change will have serious and significant consequences for providing treatment to persons with serious and catastrophic injuries who must receive services in their homes, community settings or workplaces in order to get better. This is the single most dramatically negative change impacting claimants that we’ve experienced since the 2010 cuts

The change makes clear to how little understanding FSCO and the Ministry of Finance have about the needs of seriously injured persons and the importance of community-based treatment. Insurers have claimed that mileage is merely ‘a cost of doing business’ – or overhead.

Really? In what world?

Mileage is an incurred cost directly related to providing treatment. Overhead expenses are not attributable to a specific client. Just as insurance companies pay mileage or provide gas cards or rented vehicles to staff so that they needn’t absorb the cost of doing their jobs, the same is true for rehab providers. When mileage is incurred it is because the client’s condition requires that our services be delivered in the home, community setting or workplace, in order for the rehabilitation goals to be achieved. 

This change hurts the injured as well as the service providers. Many providers may not be able to provide service under these conditions – particularly in rural and remote regions – and this will have a profound impact – creating significant ‘down river’ costs of injured persons unable to return to work or school or look after their children, more serious injuries becoming catastrophic due to lack of treatment, increased numbers of disputes and more costly tort settlements. 

We also question the fairness and optics of a stance that leads to lack of treatment and services for claimants while the system continues to pay significantly, without quibble or question, for mileage and incurred travel costs for investigators and insurer-ordered IE exams to support denial of treatment.

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