Category Archives: Black Lung Benefits Act

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Final Rule Governing the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund’s Payment of Medical Benefits Has Been Issued

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has issued a Final Rule governing the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund’s payment of medical benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act.

The Final Rule:

  • Adopts modern payment formulas for physicians, hospitals and other providers that are derived from the formulas used in the Medicare program. These formulas are also similar to those used by other OWCP programs (e.g., Federal Employees Compensation and Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation programs).
  • Codifies the black lung program’s current practices for the payment of prescription drugs and the submission of medical bills for payment.
  • Provides greater clarity about fees paid to providers, which should speed processing and payment of benefits as well as make it easier for the Trust Fund to obtain reimbursement from coal companies.
  • Prohibits providers from seeking additional payments from miners for covered services that have been paid by the Trust Fund.

Miners will not see any change in the medical care they receive to treat their black lung disease.

The regulations will be effective August 31, 2018.  The rules will apply to medical equipment, prescription drugs, and inpatient medical services provided or rendered after that date. The rules governing payment of professional medical services and outpatient medical services have a delayed application date and will apply to services rendered after November 30, 2019.

DOL Press Release of Final Rule

The Final Rule is available for public inspection today on the Federal Register’s website at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/06/14/2018-12418/black-lung-benefits-act-medical-benefit-payments. The Federal Register will publish the rule on June 14, 2018. The published version will be available online at the same website location.


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Miners’ Health Benefits Countdown

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va. joined three other senators in issuing a statement saying they would block other legislation unless Congress acts to save health care and pension benefits for thousands of retired coal miners.

Read the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s Dec. 5, 2016 article here: manchin-threatens-to-block-other-bills-without-umw-benefit-action

View it on the Charleston Gazette-Mail website here: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-politics/20161205/manchin-threatens-to-block-other-bills-without-umw-benefit-action


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STAT News article on Trump and Black Lung Benefits

Trump promised to bring back coal. Now some worry he will take away miners’ black lung benefits…

Read the full article here: STAT News article

View the article on the STAT News website:
https://www.statnews.com/2016/11/28/trump-black-lung/


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Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act of 2015 Summary

Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act of 2015
(H.R. 3625)
Section-by-Section Summary
September, 2015

TITLE I BLACK LUNG BENEFITS

Click to view the summary: black-lung-benefits-improvement-act-of-2015-section-by-section


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Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs issues Final Rule

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has issued a Final Rule revising certain regulations to resolve procedural and other issues that have arisen in administering and adjudicating claims under the Black Lung Benefits Act. The Final Rule:

  • Requires all parties to exchange any medical information about the miner that they develop in connection with a claim, even if the party does not intend to submit the information into evidence, and allows for sanctions for failure to comply
  • Clarifies coal mine operators’ obligation to pay effective benefits awards during post-award modification proceedings
  • Clarifies that a physician’s supplemental report is a continuation of the physician’s earlier report for purposes of the evidence-limiting rules
  • Allows the Department to fully participate in claims adjudications after the liable coal mine operator stops participating because of adverse financial developments, such as bankruptcy or insolvency

The regulations are effective May 26, 2016.

DOL Press Release on Final Rule

 

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