Funding package extends TRIA, eliminates Cadillac Tax
The federal funding package signed by President Donald Trump in late December includes a seven-year extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIA). The Cadillac tax, an excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health plans, which was a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was permanently repealed.
Medical and indemnity payments increase with age of worker: WCRI
A recent study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found little difference in injury rates and outcomes for workers regardless of their age, with rates highest for workers aged 19 and younger, followed by workers aged 55 to 65. Younger workers are more likely to suffer from struck-by injuries or cuts and older workers more likely to suffer from falls and fractures.
The key differences are in payments per claim and lost time. Payments per claim steadily increased up to age 64, with permanent partial disability/lump sum payments averaging a little more than $10,000 per claim for younger workers, climbing to an average of nearly $25,000 for workers aged 60 to 64. Average duration of temporary disability benefits plateaued at age 45 at 24 weeks compared with nine weeks for the youngest workers.
There was a slightly more than 10% chance to have seven days of lost time at 36 months of maturity for workers aged 15 to 19 and a 31% chance for workers 65. Indemnity payments for workers aged 60 – 64 averaged $22,000 compared to under $5,000 for younger workers.
Fatal injuries increase: BLS
Workplace fatalities increased from 5,147 in 2017 to 5,250 in 2018, but the fatal occupational injury rate held steady at 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fatalities from transportation remained the most frequent fatal occupational injury, accounting for 40% of occupational deaths. Workplace violence deaths increased 3%, including a 12% increase in suicides, and unintentional overdoses also increased. Fatalities from falls decreased 11% after reaching a 26-year high in 2017 and contact with objects and equipment fatalities declined 13%.
NCCI launches online comp court case tool
“Court Case Insights,” a new resource tool from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), provides information and interpretations of court cases reported by NCCI’s legal team.
Virginia Beach mass shooting results in 450 comp claims
More than 450 city workers have filed workers’ compensation claims following a mass shooting at the Virginia Beach city offices in May that left 12 dead and six injured. Many of the claims are for mental stress.
- The new reporting requirements for Cal/OSHA went into effect Jan. 1. AB 1804 directs employers to immediately disclose incidents via telephone or through a new online portal. Employers may continue to send incident reports by email until the agency launches the new site.
- The maximum weekly benefit level rises to $971, up $31.
- Governor signs amendments (SB 1557) to The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act to clarify workplace drug testing and other issues, including protections for an employer’s drug testing policy.
- Legislation regulating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in hiring practices went into effect Jan. 1.
- The Workers’ Compensation Commission is reminding stakeholders that it has proposed a new rule, required by Senate Bill 94, that specifies how an insurer must send a complete explanation when medical bills are denied.
- A new study by the Department of Health of Workers’ Compensation Data aims to help identify priorities for reducing injuries and illnesses among private workers. One finding shows that health care continues to be one of the most dangerous types of work in the state, and violence against health workers is one of the leading causes of injuries.
- The Department of Commerce and Insurance has recommended a 1.6% decrease in workers compensation insurance loss costs for 2020. The change is one of the smallest in the country and the smallest decrease in recent years.
- The Workers’ Compensation Board has published FAQs relating to the drug formulary.
- The law prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary histories went into effect Jan. 6.
- The insurance commissioner approved a 7.1% overall loss cost decrease for 2020, lower than the recommended 8.2% from NCCI. The reduction will become effective March 1, 2020.
- The Corporation Commission has approved an overall loss cost decrease of 10.7% for the voluntary market and an 8.4% decrease for the assigned-risk market, effective April 1.
- The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has approved revisions to the premium levels that will lower the overall premium level for the industrial, federal, surface and underground coal mine classifications in the voluntary market and assigned risk plan. The changes become effective April 1.
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