Many construction workers are without proper health cover and will likely be scrambling to change that; however, conventional wisdom may be rife with pitfalls. A review of employer-sponsored healthcare schemes by the Harvard Business Reviews outlines how many such protections are being phased out, largely due to their inability to provide proper cover. As both construction and healthcare industries change rapidly with the times, it becomes difficult to make sense of exactly what the options are. The key is in looking at current trends in both industries, and looking for care to match.
Many construction workers are low paid and will therefore be able to find cover by Medicare or Medicaid. It’s important in the first instance that workers look for whether they can be covered and head for enrollment within the nearest window. It’s also then important that workers look at what their conditions are, what is covered, and what isn’t. Medicare is seeing expansion. CNBC highlights that the democrats are intending to add dental, vision and hearing coverage to Medicaid – all important areas for construction workers, and nice benefits for day-to-day life outside of the workplace. Looking at what the government entitles you to claim and then making sure you are fully aware of that and taking those benefits on is a bare minimum in the insurance cover story.
Taking on risk
The New York Times notes that the current infrastructure plan is at serious risk of not moving forward due to a long-standing worker shortage. In these conditions operators can be careless with the rules, and regulators can often look the other way. That means that workers can be put at risk, and will need to look at their cover to see that it pays its way. You shouldn’t work under unsafe conditions anyway, but it’s of imperative value that workers are aware of how far their cover will go if they are injured during the working day. Insufficient cover can create serious headaches for the contractor and the employer and cause further problems down the road.
The construction industry is changing, with huge amounts of disruption from the world of AI and robotics creating lower demand for labor in certain areas. This necessarily changes the work that construction contractors are doing and, once again, impacts on how they are covered under their various insurance packages. A study published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene alright highlights the many varied safety considerations placed on employees as they bring robotics into the workplace. Construction firms and their contractors are no different and should take a nuanced approach to how they interact with non-human workers on sites in the future.
Proper healthcare insurance is ultimately a minimum when it comes to the construction industry. The matter of building structures is inherently dangerous, and workers deserve proper cover. Knowing what their rights are, and where they can get support from, is a must.
The article was contributed by Jennifer Dawson.