Medical Mileage Rate Decline in 2017

After an employee suffers a work-related injury, he or she will need to attend many appointments associated with the workers’ compensation claim and case.  Some of these appointments will, of course, be medical appointments in order to diagnose and treat the work-related injury.  The medical mileage applies to the travel that an injured worker conducts that is related to the medical treatment or evaluation of the work-related injury.  Under the California Labor Code § 4600, the claims administrators for the workers’ compensation case are required to reimburse an injured worker for the mileage expenses.  The rate to be reimbursed is to be set in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service guidelines.  On December 13, 2016, the IRS released new guidelines with respect to the reimbursement for mileage.  As of January 1, 2017, the standard mileage reimbursement rate is 53.5 cents per mile, which is a decrease of .50 cents per mile.  This new rate applies even for injuries that occurred before January 1, 2017, and even for workers’ compensation claims and cases that were already ongoing.

Employers and administrators should note that although the rate has changed for any travel occurring on January 1, 2017 or later, mileage that occurred before that date should still be reimbursed at the previous rate.  The rate for the year of 2016 is 54 cents per mile.

The reason that the IRS decided to modify the mileage reimbursement rate is the result of a study that was conducted on their behalf.  The study examined the costs of owning and operating a vehicle, and takes into account both the fixed and variable costs associated with driving a car.  Based on this study, the IRS determined that the mileage reimbursement rate of 54 cents per mile was too high, and adjusted the rate downward.

Since 2008, the rate for medical mileage reimbursement has changed many times.  As a result, in order to assist in the accurate payment of the mileage expenses, the California Department of Labor provides forms for the mileage expenses.  The forms reflect the proper rate of reimbursement, and there are forms for expenses incurred both before and after January 1, 2017.

If you have questions about the proper rate or the nature of medical mileage reimbursement, contact our team today at (714) 252-7078.  We can discuss your business and the claims you have.

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