alternative medical insurance to workers compensation

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andy32821

Member
Hi Everyone,

I plan to activate my electrical contractors license. I will be a one man shop doing service work. I have good family medical insurance for everyday life, but I need something to cover me for work related injuries. I really don't need much of the workers compensation benefits, (loss of wages, etc). I just need something to pay catastrophic medical bills in case I fall off a ladder. Anyone know of any alternative medical insurance to workers compensation? (In Florida I can exempt myself from workers comp if I have no employees)

Thanks,
Andy
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Hi Everyone,

I plan to activate my electrical contractors license. I will be a one man shop doing service work. I have good family medical insurance for everyday life, but I need something to cover me for work related injuries. I really don't need much of the workers compensation benefits, (loss of wages, etc). I just need something to pay catastrophic medical bills in case I fall off a ladder. Anyone know of any alternative medical insurance to workers compensation? (In Florida I can exempt myself from workers comp if I have no employees)

Thanks,
Andy

Hmm, not sure. They change it so much I can't keep up. One thing you can do if you get it. apply more than one code, i.e. if you're in the office, its one rate. If you're in the field, it's another rate. They will come in and do a yearly audit so you need to keep up with the payroll hours and the different codes.

DON'T say you do fire alarm! is a lot more per 100.

Gary
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
... I will be a one man shop doing service work. I have good family medical insurance for everyday life, but I need something to cover me for work related injuries. I really don't need much of the workers compensation benefits, (loss of wages, etc). I just need something to pay catastrophic medical bills in case I fall off a ladder.

What makes you think the insurance you have now won't cover you in that instance? Also, before thinking about that, what customers will you be working for? If you sub for a GC their WC should cover you. Same when doing work for commercial customers and with residential their homeowners insurance should kick in.

That said, unfortunately, because as a one man band you can't get your own WC you will find that some customers won't want you doing work for them because of them having to cover you. And, no, your own health insurance doesn't count.

What you might consider is creating a business entity such as a corp where you are an employee. I believe then you can get WC coverage.

-Hal
 
Last edited:

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
I just googled it...

Regarding Workers Compensation Insurance in Florida: ... If the employer is in the construction industry and employs one or more employees, worker's compensation insurance is required. Florida farmers with five or more employees and twelve or more additional seasonal employees must also carry coverage.

I would say you are considered an employee. You might get away with not having it on a service truck. If you contract with a General, I am sure he will ask for a certificate of insurance that you have Workmen's Comp. If he doesn't and you get hurt, the general would have to pay since he needs to make sure all are insured on the job. If he gets audited and you do not have one, he will have to pay the premium whether you were hurt or not.

Talk to the person that will handle your general liability insurance. They will know.

I know if you are a Sub-S, the IRS considers you an employee. You might as well fess up the money and pay since they already think you're a millionaire because of your business. As soon as you paste that EC license on the side of that truck, you have a bullseye on your back! lol Now, the state, feds, and local guys start putting their hand in your pocket!

Happy New Year!
 

romex jockey

Senior Member
Location
Vermont
Occupation
electrician
I know if you are a Sub-S, the IRS considers you an employee. You might as well fess up the money and pay since they already think you're a millionaire because of your business. As soon as you paste that EC license on the side of that truck, you have a bullseye on your back! lol Now, the state, feds, and local guys start putting their hand in your pocket!

^^^^word!

And here's the real kicker, even if your HC insurer offers some catastrophic deductible plan to cover you in case you're injured on the job, you'll still need WC insurance as well.

BUT, the coroptae officers can sign off, I.E., you end up paying less for a state (it varies state/state) legislated plan that does absoultely zero zip nada for you:slaphead:

Happy '19! Hope you live the EC dream like so many here!!!!:lol:

~RJ~
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
^^^^word!

And here's the real kicker, even if your HC insurer offers some catastrophic deductible plan to cover you in case you're injured on the job, you'll still need WC insurance as well.

BUT, the coroptae officers can sign off, I.E., you end up paying less for a state (it varies state/state) legislated plan that does absoultely zero zip nada for you:slaphead:

Happy '19! Hope you live the EC dream like so many here!!!!:lol:

~RJ~

It's the cost of doing business. Most of the time this is a wash against your competitor since he/she is paying it too. Just add it to your GC's with SUTA, FUTA, and SS. You will have a good rate to start since you haven't killed anybody. Get two hundred employees and a guy gets a hangnail and makes a claim, your exposure rate goes up for all 200! Then it gets expensive...
 

romex jockey

Senior Member
Location
Vermont
Occupation
electrician
It's the cost of doing business. Most of the time this is a wash against your competitor since he/she is paying it too. Just add it to your GC's with SUTA, FUTA, and SS. You will have a good rate to start since you haven't killed anybody. Get two hundred employees and a guy gets a hangnail and makes a claim, your exposure rate goes up for all 200! Then it gets expensive...


Which i'm ok with......were that a level playing field......but it's not. For example, my state in it's infinite wisdom has created a 'maintenance' loophole big enough that there's actually more of a market for failed apprentices to be employed @ maintenance & home improvement companies , than licensed Jmen @ EC companies.

~RJ~
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Which i'm ok with......were that a level playing field......but it's not. For example, my state in it's infinite wisdom has created a 'maintenance' loophole big enough that there's actually more of a market for failed apprentices to be employed @ maintenance & home improvement companies , than licensed Jmen @ EC companies.

~RJ~

I see you said you were in Florida. Nothing has changed in Florida since I went into business in 1985, and retired it in 2015. I knew we would be fighting the trunk slammers, so we never went into Service work. We started bidding with the Generals as soon as I quit my 40-hour job.
We also bid and got a couple of contracts direct with Dade County which helped pay the bills as we learned the business. And, they pay. Maybe 90 days, but they always paid! And, we did some work directly through Dade County School Board.

Then, as we were able to bond, we started up the ladder...

I see a lot of guys make in service work. I never did it, but it does look successful... I didn't know squat went I went into business, but I was a dam good electrician that didn't have the good sense to stay in my well paying job through the union at the time! But, I would never trade being the boss for any 40-hour job...

Good Luck in your business,

Gary
 

andy32821

Member
LLC

LLC

Thanks for the feedback guys.

I'm going to do the LLC thing which will let me exempt WC if I chose. I don't mind paying WC but since it's just me and I don't care about most of the things WC covers, I would rather find a high deductible hospital coverage for the business. With WC I have to pay for coverage that includes 100% medical bills, lost wages, and other stuff I don't need.
I'm just a basement geek doing automation, I sometimes need to pull permits, but I really don't do much real work. Anything over 3/4 inch conduit gets sub'd out to people that know what they are doing.

Andy
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
I would rather find a high deductible hospital coverage for the business.

I don't think that is possible, you need to understand how insurance works. If you have health coverage through your company your personal health care policy won't cover you (or vice versa). Basically you can't have two policies for the same thing. You can't just say I got hurt on the job so I want my business insurance to cover it.

Taking that concept further, if you don't have WC, you get hurt on the job and you file a claim with your insurance. If you tell them it is a job related injury they will be wanting to know where, when and how because your insurance company will be going after whoever you were working for and their insurance. This is why whoever you do work for should ask for a certificate of insurance from you. They want to see liability coverage and that you carry WC so you (really your insurance company) can't sue them if you get hurt while working for them.

If you insist on going the no WC route, my advice is that all you need is your personal policy and to keep you mouth shut about where you got hurt, unless they haul you off in an ambulance. (I cut my arm open once with a radial arm saw and wound up in the ER. They seemed to be very suspicious because it was during the day and I said I did it at home.)

I'm a one horse show too and I used to be able to get a WC policy for about $600/year because I had no employees at the time. So that $600 got me a certificate of insurance that said I had WC even though I had no coverage. (I had several customers who wouldn't let me walk in the door without a certificate saying my company had WC). Unfortunately the state got smart to this and discontinued allowing policies if you have no employees but I see now that that changed and I can get coverage for myself as a sole proprietor in NY.

This situation is something you need to present to your insurance agent because they will be able to tell you what you need to do based on your business model as well as every state having different rules and requirements. My feeling is that WC is going to be cheaper assuming that a business health care policy will even work or you.

-Hal
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
In Florida, the lawyers have a strong lobby. Might as well get the WC. Just say you're in Administrative duty 99 percent of the time. The Code is lower. Then, the other 1% percent you use as an electrician, which is higher. The auditor may have an issue with this ratio but it debatable.

I found some old rates for 2013, but this is to show you the difference in how they charge you between risks. I guess the Architect may stab his finger with his pencil or maybe fall off his stool. The electrician can get electrocuted...

Code 5190 - Electrical Wiring - Within Buildings $ 6.02 per hundred of payroll

Code 8603 - Architectural Or Engineering Firm - Clerical $ .019 per hundred of payroll

 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Coverage for on the job injuries is exempted by many medical insurance plans.

That is not exactly true. What happens is that the workman's compensation Insurance becomes the primary insurance for work-related medical costs. It's just like if you have a a car accident. If you have medical coverage as part of your car insurance it can become the primary insurance for the first $25,000 or whatever you have.

Usually if you have a healthcare claim on your health insurance company, related to a car accident, your health insurance company will pay out and then try to collect from the insurance company of the person that caused the accident.

This of course varies from state-to-state and policy to policy so your mileage might vary.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
Coverage for on the job injuries is exempted by many medical insurance plans.

Right, because you are supposed to be covered by WC. Simple injuries you can get away with if you keep your mouth shut as I said above.

petersonra said:
Usually if you have a healthcare claim on your health insurance company, related to a car accident, your health insurance company will pay out and then try to collect from the insurance company of the person that caused the accident.

And it's the same for a worker who gets hurt and doesn't have WC. He files a healthcare claim and the insurance company goes after the insurance of whoever the guy was working for. The term for this is subrogation.

Bottom line is that what the OP proposes isn't going to work. Ask an insurance agent about what you need to do.

-Hal
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
That is not exactly true. What happens is that the workman's compensation Insurance becomes the primary insurance for work-related medical costs. It's just like if you have a a car accident. If you have medical coverage as part of your car insurance it can become the primary insurance for the first $25,000 or whatever you have.
....
Our policy does not appear to provide any benefits of any type if the injury was a workplace injury. From the policy.
No payment will be made under this benefit plan for any loss sustained as a result of, or for charges incurred as a result of, any of the following: ...
13) Accidental bodily injury, sickness or disease sustained while a person was performing any act of employment of doing anything pertaining to any occupation or employment for compensation, wages or profit, or for which benefits are or may be payable in whole or part under any Worker’s Compensation law or any Occupational Diseases law or similar law.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
... for which benefits are or may be payable in whole or part under any Worker’s Compensation law or any Occupational Diseases law or similar law.

So really, that means you are on your own if you don't have WC. It seems that they won't even go to bat for you. One thing everybody needs to keep in mind: insurance companies aren't in the business of paying out and will do whatever they can not to. They are in the business of taking money from you and keeping as much of it as possible.

-Hal
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
This is not specific to FL as I am not aware of their regulations. In NJ, if you are an LLC and you DON'T do commercial work or work for GC's you don''t have to carry WC insurance. You're on your own with that. You are considered an employee of your company even if you're the only one. However, once you start working at commercial properties or for GC's SOMEONE has to pay the WC insurance. So, if it's not you it has to be them nd chances are you won't get the work. In addition you will not be able to make a claim on your WC policy.

That said, there is disability insurance available on the market. Consult your insurance agent and bring $$$. It's expensive !!!
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
If you become a contractor, end the end, you will pay!


I had guys fighting with hammers. Another one said he got a brain tumor because he cut his finger. Another one said he got ELECTROCUTED while changing a 60 watt incadescent light bulb. (Oh, he also called OSHA and I had to fight that one since they marked me up as no lock out tag out., which was a 10,000 fine. There's more but why bore you.

And of course, you get the guy hired, and he hurts his back the first day. Then you find out this is his third time. He's already pulled that crap and got paid from other contractors.

And most of the time, if you say you want to fight it, the insurance company wants to settle. So, your exposer rate increases and there goes being competitive on bid day!

Gosh, I love this trade!

And my dad said to me one time, "so you want to be an electrical contractor" ?
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer - Power Systems
Closed. This is a two year old thread.
Please free to start a new one if you like to continue the discussion.
 
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