(1) For claims arising on or after July 1, 1997, a disabled worker is entitled to receive payment for reasonable tuition, fees, books, and other reasonable and necessary retraining expenses, excluding travel and living expenses paid pursuant to the provisions of 39-71-1025 , MCA.
(2) The insurer and claimant must agree to payment of tuition, fees, books and other reasonable and necessary retraining expenses. The expenses must be specified in the rehabilitation plan agreed upon between the insurer and claimant. The expenses must be paid directly by the insurer.
(3) The insurer must pay for tuition required for the agreed upon rehabilitation plan. The insurer must pay for fees, books, supplies and equipment which are a prerequisite for the retraining and required by the provider of the training. Unless otherwise agreed upon by the insurer and the claimant, the insurer is not responsible for fees, books, supplies and/or equipment which are optional, not required to complete the retraining plan. For example, the purchase of student health insurance at a Montana university is an optional fee not required for enrollment, unless the claimant does not have health care insurance. If the claimant does not have health care insurance, the purchase of student health insurance is required. The payment of parking fees is required for enrollment at Montana universities.
(a) Supplies include, but are not limited to, pens, paper, notebooks, etc. and are limited to $25 for each term of training. For example, a term of training is a semester, quarter, etc.
(b) Equipment includes, but is not limited to, calculators, computer hardware and/or software, ergonomic furniture, tools, etc. The insurer may choose to rent or lease rather than purchase the equipment, if the insurer determines it is more cost effective to do so.
(4) The insurer is not liable for tuition, fees, books or equipment costs incurred if the claimant fails to complete registration requirements or fails to properly withdraw from the agreed upon training program. The insurer is entitled to any refund of tuition or fees that may be paid by the retraining entity upon the early withdrawal of the claimant from the training program. In addition, the insurer is entitled to possession of books, tools or other equipment previously paid for by the insurer upon the pre-graduation withdrawal of the claimant from the agreed upon training program.