(MENAFN Press) (EMAILWIRE.COM, November 22, 2012 ) Norco, CA --
In California the labor unions and major employers have been working out a thorough overhaul of the current worker's compensation system. The goal of the reform is to provide better care for injured workers while keeping premiums for businesses from skyrocketing.
The focus of the negotiations has been to shave unnecessary costs from the state's 15 billion per year system and streamline the system to avoid delays and denials of compensation for injured workers.
The average worker with a permanent disability was paid 12,000 in compensation. In 2004 the average payout was 25,000, more than double the current amount. This reduction is a result of laws approved in 2004 that aimed to reduce exorbitant employer premiums.
The result was a 60% reduction in premiums for employers and a healthy increase in profits for insurance companies, both of which came at the expense of injured workers. Cases moved very slowly through the worker's compensation courts, and workers sometimes waited years to receive benefits if they received any at all.
According to growing consensus, California's worker's compensation system is due for significant changes. The current system is failing the injured victims it was designed to protect, and Governor Brown is supportive of the overhaul he sees as necessary.
It is clear that permanently disabled workers are not being adequately compensated under the current laws. However, increasing the premiums for employers would be counterproductive, as unemployment in California is currently over 10%. Top advisors say that the funds needed to increase disability benefits can be derived from trimming the fat within the current system.
According to an analysis done on the worker's compensation system back in 2009, 750 million to 1.5 billion can be trimmed from the current system without raising employer premiums. Significant savings could come from:
Simplifying the process of determining permanent disability compensation amounts
Using the low cost Medi-Cal system for outpatient surgeries
Working throughthe backlog of an estimated 500,000 outstanding medical bills clogging up the Los Angeles courts.
To adequately reform the current system it is widely agreed that all parties involved must be willing to sacrifice some privileges or rights. This means that employers, California workers compensation insurance companies, injured workers, hospitals and doctors must all do their part for the system to be successfully revamped.
Reports suggest that the current proposal will adequately clean up the system and increase disability benefits without increasing the California workers compensation rates paid by employers. With two weeks left in the current legislative session, lawmakers are under the gun to quickly evaluate the proposal get the reform into a bill. If the reform is not passed this year, it will be addressed again in 2013.For more information on workers compensation insurance in California, please click here or visit bestworkercomprates.com.