Effect of 2012 workers compensation overhaul still unclear
According to a new study looking at workers’ compensation systems in 16 different states, representing 60 percent of the nation’s workers, it is still too early to determine whether the program overhaul passed by Governor Jerry Brown last year will result in cost savings. That, of course, was the promise from lawmakers who sponsored the changes.
Those who have followed the implementation of the new system know that employers, insurers and health care providers are still confused about the effects of the new law, which has raised some benefits, on the one hand, and reduced or altogether eliminated others. Because of this, the recent study looked specifically at how California’s new system compared to other states, before the 2012 overhaul.
The last major changes to the system were in 2004. What it found was that employees in California received permanent partial disability payments more frequently than workers in other states, a point many employers complained about. On the other hand, medical payments per claim turned out to be lower when compared to those in most other states. The study also found that legal costs were higher under California’s system, suggesting that there were more disputes between workers and insurers in California.
Workers compensation is a critical benefit, particularly for those working high risk jobs. When a worker is hurt, it is absolutely essential that they receive assistance with respect to work injury benefits. When that doesn’t happen, it can be helpful to consult an attorney to determine the best way to resolve the situation.
Source: Sacramento Bee, “Study: Calif. workers compensation overhaul too new to parse,” Dan Walters, October 10, 2013.