Aug 27, 2020 9:00 PM

Kansas creates COVID-19 essential worker health care fund

Posted Aug 27, 2020 9:00 PM

TOPEKA —Gov. Laura Kelly announced a new program Thursday to help essential workers sickened with coronavirus cover the cost of medical care. The program, which will be paid for with $8 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, will provide workers in fields such as child care, education and food service up to $25,000 for medical expenses if they are uninsured and $15,000 if they are insured and need help with copays and deductibles.

Before, they were out of luck, trial attorneys and some legislators say. They say the issue is that Kansas law is written so that coronavirus is almost certainly not an occupational disease, which means if you get it on the job, you can’t get benefits through that system. But, because the law says the workers’ compensation system is the exclusive remedy for on-the-job injuries and occupational diseases, you can’t sue your employer, either.

“The dedication and selflessness displayed by Kansas essential workers has been critical to our recovery efforts across the state in cities big and small and rural communities,” Kelly said in a news release.

“They risk their health each and every day to help others and these funds make it possible for the state of Kansas to help cover expenses in the unfortunate cases when they contract COVID-19.”