IL Workers' Compensation Reform: What We Didn't Get in 2011
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Yes, we did get workers’ compensation reform in 2011. Which included:
- Reduction in the medical fee schedule
- New American Medical Association (AMA) standards to determine impairment
- Use of preferred provided programs (PPP)
- Utilization reviews
- Reduced wage differential from lifetime to age 67
- Strengthened workers’ compensation fraud provisions and penalties
- No compensation if an employee’s intoxication is the proximate cause of the employee’s injury
But, was this enough to bend the curve or even reduce workers’ compensation costs? In my opinion, it’s inconclusive because workers’ compensation expected loss rates (ELR) are going down, but the employers’ experience modifications (EMR) are going up; therefore, offsetting any savings by the lower ELR rates.
Illinois Governor Rauner, along with the several Illinois business associations, are looking to reform and lower the cost of workers’ compensation premiums in Illinois. Some of the ideas presented include addressing causation of an injury, creating additional reforms for medical fee schedules, finding solutions for how the average weekly wage can be calculated to better reflect the true employee lost time and clarification on AMA guidelines for permanency determinations.
Lower workers’ compensation costs benefit not only employers, but the Illinois tax payer with lower costs on publicly funded work and the state’s direct workers’ compensation costs for state employees. Fair workers’ compensation reform can benefit the worker injured on the job with the best medical treatment and compensation in the Midwest and create growth and a more competitive business environment for Illinois.
Clearly, this is an evolving issue. Stay tuned on the outcome, and we’ll keep you updated on the details you need to know. In the meantime, contact us with any questions.
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