Alaska: Legislation to extend medical fee schedule cap heads to governor's desk
House Bill 104, sponsored by the state House Labor & Commerce Committee, would keep the Alaska Workers' Compensation Act cap in place through December 2010. Rep. Kurt Olson, R-Kenai, and chairman of the committee, said the legislation would allow recommendations for a permanent solution from the state's Medical Services Review Committee. Currently, Alaska's fee schedule is based on the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index.
"Extending the cap on medical fees through December of 2010 will allow a reduction in the premiums for workers' compensation policies," Olson said. "The National Council on Compensation Insurance estimated that the overall cost to the workers' compensation system in Alaska would increase if the current fee cap was eliminated."
Olson said that if the bill didn't pass, the current cap would have expired, resulting in an estimated 5 percent increase being applied to all workers' comp claims.
In a 2008 national study by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, researchers found that Alaska had the highest workers' comp premiums in the nation. According to the report, workers' comp premiums in the state represented $3.97 per $100 of payroll, or 176 percent of the study median. The index rate was the payroll weighted average premium for $100 of payroll based on the 50 occupations in each state with the greatest losses. The national median index rate was $2.26 per $100 of payroll in 2008.
April 13, 2009
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