County of Los Angeles (County) Volunteer Workers:
Indemnification & Insurance Program Description
This handout was developed to provide you, the volunteer, with a brief description of County insurance programs which may be available to you.
To qualify for coverage, you must be formally enrolled as a volunteer in a program or activity sponsored by the County and adhere to established volunteer work assignment guidelines. The County Department to which you are assigned will advise you of your work duties and will maintain an enrollment record to document your participation as a volunteer.
- Volunteer Medical Expense Reimbursement Insurance Policy
(Volunteer Insurance Policy)
The Volunteer Insurance Policy is intended to reimburse you for medical expenses associated with the immediate treatment of an injury you suffer as a result of performing volunteer services, and which are not covered by your own medical insurance. No coverage is provided for injury due to a “personal deviation” while traveling, or for injury contributed to by underlying disease, sickness, mental or bodily infirmity. Volunteers in general are not eligible to receive County workers’ compensation benefits. However, certain designated groups of volunteers may qualify per Board adopted resolutions, California Government Code, or Federal Volunteer Protection Act.
Volunteers receive medical expense reimbursement and accidental death and dismemberment coverage through a commercial insurance policy purchased by the County. This policy, which is presently written by CIGNA, provides benefits of:
- up to $10,000 for accidental medical expenses
- up to $500 for accidental dental expenses, and
- up to $5,000 for accidental death and dismemberment.
- Where to Obtain Medical Treatment:
You may obtain medical treatment from your private physician or other facility of your choice. However, you, the volunteer, are responsible for the initial payment of all medical bills – you must file a claim under the Volunteer Insurance Policy to receive reimbursement from the insurance company for any costs not paid under your own medical insurance.
Volunteers assigned to certain County facilities (such as hospitals) may be able to receive initial treatment at no cost from the County facility in which they work. Your supervisor or volunteer coordinator will advise you of your department’s policy regarding provision of initial treatment to volunteers. However, if further medical treatment is deemed necessary, you will be referred to your own private physician and you must file a claim under the Volunteer Insurance Policy to receive reimbursement for your physician’s charges.
- How to Report an Injury, File a Claim and Obtain Reimbursement:
If you are injured, you must notify your supervisor as soon as possible and assist with the completion of a claim form. In general, instructions for completion of the form require that:
- The volunteer’s department supervisor (representative) signs the claim form.
- The volunteer provides certain information including complete name and address, SSN, and a description of the injury. The volunteer is also responsible for ensuring that their treating physician or the treating facility completes the physician’s or facility’s section of the claim form.
- The volunteer attaches copies of medical bills to the claim form. If medical billings are not readily available, they should be sent as soon as possible to the insurance company.
- The claim form and medical bills should be mailed without delay to CIGNA at the following address:
CIGNA Life & Accident Claim Services
P.O. Box 22328
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-0328
Questions concerning the claim form or the status of your claim may be directed to CIGNA at 1-800-36-CIGNA. Call between 5 am and 5 pm Pacific time and select option 4. If the call falls outside this time frame, leave a voicemail message and a CIGNA representative will respond the next business day.
Another option to file a claim is to call CIGNA's toll-free number and speak with one of the Customer Intake Representatives. CIGNA will take all initial information over the phone at 1-800-36-CIGNA or 1-800-362-4462.
CIGNA will make the final determination to approve or deny your claim in accordance with the terms of the insurance policy.
- Failure to promptly notify your supervisor of injury or late filing of your claim could jeopardize your benefits under this insurance program. If you have another medical insurance plan, it is also important that you notify your insurance company at the same time to preserve your rights to coverage under your own plan.
- This brief description of benefits is provided for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide all coverage details; the terms, exclusions and conditions concerning the medical benefits are governed by the insurance policy.
- Should there be any conflict or inconsistency between the information provided in this handout and the insurance policy, the insurance policy provisions shall prevail.
- The County reserves the right to amend or terminate the Volunteer Insurance Policy at any time without notice.
- Third-Party Liability – County Defense and Indemnification of Volunteers and
Accident Reporting Procedures
You are defended and indemnified by the County for professional, auto and general liability (also known as “third party liability), which may arise from your activities as a volunteer within the course of your volunteer assignment, unless your actions are fraudulent, malicious, or criminal. Volunteers are not indemnified for punitive damages. Therefore, it is very important that you have a clear understanding of your work assignment and authority.
- Volunteers Who Provide Professional Services:
In the event of any occurrence involving possible injury or death to a County patient or client, you will be required to assist your supervisor in the completion of your department’s incident report form. This form may be obtained from your supervisor. You must report any such incident within 24 hours to your supervisor, even if it did not result in any immediate injury or damage to the patient/client. Fatalities or serious injuries must be reported immediately. The completed incident report will be forwarded by your supervisor to the County’s claim administrators.
- Volunteers Who Drive in the Course of Their Assignment:
Volunteers who are designated and authorized by the County to operate vehicles in the course and scope of their assignments are defended and indemnified for bodily injury or property damage, suffered by other parties, which may be caused by the volunteer. Such volunteers must possess a valid California driver’s license and comply with all California State laws, including laws relating to financial responsibility (automobile liability insurance), seat belts and use of cellular telephones.
You must report any auto accident within 24 hours to your supervisor, even if it did not result in any injury or damage to you or to others. Fatalities or serious injuries must be reported immediately. If the accident caused injury or damage to others, you will be required to assist your supervisor in completing the attached “County of Los Angeles Report of Vehicle Collision or Incident.” The completed report will be forwarded by your supervisor to the County’s claims administrators. Please note that damage to Volunteer-owned vehicles or loss of personal items is not covered by the County. No coverage is provided for injury due to a “personal deviation” while traveling (for example, if you are injured when driving during your lunch break).
- All County Volunteers (All Incidents not Involving Professional Liability or Auto Liability):
Volunteers who witness other types of accidents (such as slips and falls) or who are themselves injured while performing their duties must report any such incident to their supervisors, and assist in completion of the attached “County of Los Angeles Non-Employee Injury Report.” Similar to the requirements noted above, fatalities or serious injuries must be reported immediately. Your supervisor will send the completed report to the County’s claims administrators.
Please note: Should there be any conflict or inconsistency between the information provided in this handout concerning County defense and indemnification of volunteers and County Code provisions or applicable state law, the County Code and state law shall prevail.
Any questions you may have regarding your volunteer service or this handout may be directed to your supervisor or your department Volunteer Coordinator. The Volunteer Coordinator’s name and telephone number may be obtained from your supervisor.
County of Los Angeles
Chief Executive Office
Risk Management Branch
3333 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 820
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Effective Date: November 9, 2009
1 Your own medical insurance would include: personal insurance plans such as Blue Cross or Blue Shield; coverage under any group, blanket, or franchise insurance or employee benefit plan; or, coverage under any plan arranged through any employee, trustee, union, or employee benefit association.
2 Registered Disaster Service Workers including CERT trained individuals; Sheriff Reserve and Civilian Volunteers if deputized as a reserve or auxiliary deputy sheriff; Superior Court volunteers including Court Referral Community Service Volunteers; GAIN Program participants.
3 An emergency evacuation benefit may also be available for transportation costs related to a physician ordered emergency evacuation. This benefit applies if the volunteer is severely injured while traveling 100 miles or more away from their home at the time of the accident.