Medical cost-containment efforts dominate legislative, regulatory trends
Burton and NCCI's Practice Leader and Senior Actuary Ann M. Bok presented an overview of legislative and regulatory trends throughout the country during NCCI's Annual Issues Symposium.
They said the current state legislative composition and external events are driving much of the workers' comp legislation throughout the country. In addition to medical cost-containment efforts, notable legislation includes expanded benefit compensability for first responders/firefighters/police officers.
The current rate filing cycle has seen "considerably more filed loss cost increases than filed loss cost decreases," they said. Also, the number of new insurance commissioner appointments has abated.
A new experience rating split point change is in effect with approved loss cost filings on or after January and transitioning as proposed.
Among several specific states, they noted Connecticut introduced a legislative initiative to expand compensability for mental injuries in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings. In Maryland, much attention has focused on the privatization of the state fund. The state legislature also considered limiting physician-dispensed repackaged drug reimbursements.
Florida ended its four-year effort to cap reimbursements for physician-dispensed repackaged drugs with legislation approved by both legislative chambers. A concern in that state is a recent court decision that declared the limit on temporary total disability benefits unconstitutional. The case is being appealed.
Tennessee passed a comprehensive reform package that, among other things, changes to an independent administrative adjudicatory system. Illinois considered creation of a competitive state fund. Employers in that state support efforts to strengthen the injury causation standard.
Oklahoma adopted reforms, including allowing employers to opt out of the state-based workers' comp system and move to an administrative adjudicatory model. That state also adopted legislation to mutualize the state fund.
Among the regional highlights they noted are the following:
- Northeastern zone. The area experienced the highest overall loss cost increase of 4.3 percent.
- Southeastern zone. This area had the lowest overall loss cost decrease of -0.3 percent.
- Midwestern zone. The second-highest loss cost increase was recorded here at 0.3 percent.
- Western zone. Had the second-lowest overall loss cost decrease of 0.1 percent. Otherwise, this was the "most quiet zone," NCCI said.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
June 10, 2013
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