Illinois, Washington, Pennsylvania governors sign workers' comp laws
In signing the bill last month, Quinn said it would make the workers' comp a "21st century system that is fair to everyone." However, not everyone is pleased with the legislation.
Many business organizations say the legislation fails on a couple of fronts. For example, while it allows employers to use medical networks, it also allows employees to opt out of them. It also does not include causation, which would require that an injury or illness be directly related to the workplace in order to qualify for benefits.
Some physicians' representatives say the 30 percent reduction in medical fees will cause delays in care for Illinois' injured workers. An applicants' attorney said he's concerned some medical specialists will stop taking workers' comp cases.
Various aspects of the bill took effect with the governor's signature. Other portions take effect July 1, or will on Sept. 1.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire also signed workers' comp legislation last month. H.B. 2123 was expected to save up to $1 billion in the workers' comp system, according to supporters.
Among the provisions is one to establish a stay-at-work program that reimburses employers some of the wages paid to injured workers who return to transitional, light-duty jobs. Another provision gives older injured workers the option of negotiating settlement agreements with periodic payments.
While some Washington business leaders said more is needed to curb costs, labor representatives complained the bill could result in older workers accepting lower benefits than necessary.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said legislation he signed should help small businesses. H.B. 440 would allow insurers to write workers' comp coverage for sole proprietors, partners in partnerships and members of limited liability companies.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 18, 2011
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