End of Session Brings Significant Workers Compensation Reform

 

One of the major policy changes that took place in the last days of session was an overhaul to the state’s workers compensation reform. During the last night of session both the Senate and the Assembly passed SB 863 (De León), which is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

The deal hammered out between unions, employers and the state would shift most treatment disputes from lengthy court proceedings to quicker decisions made by doctors, similar to the model used under Medi-Cal.

Insurance companies say these savings would allow them to reverse their upcoming 18 percent premium hike and instead cut rates by as much as 7 percent. Combined with cutting down on court cases, this would save companies who pay for disability some $770 million in the next year.

The $17-billion-a-year workers' compensation system is one of the biggest social insurance programs operated by the state. It covers practically every one of California's 14.4 million employees working for 864,000 companies, governments and nonprofit organizations. Each year about 500,000 claims are filed, with about 1 in 8 qualifying for permanent disability benefits.

For additional information contact Jason Bryant