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Work Comp Benefit Reduction Act to be filed North Carolina

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  • Work Comp Benefit Reduction Act to be filed North Carolina

    The NC General Assembly will soon be considering a Work Comp Benefit Reduction Act that primarily shifts work comp costs to the State and Federal taxpayers for the most seriously injured workers.

    The bill is expected to limit disability benefits to either 400 or 500 weeks regardless of the worker's level of disability at that point. Anyone still disabled would have to rely on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps for income and treatment.

    The bill is also expected to abolish the concept of "suitable employment" thereby allowing the insurance company to force a partially disabled person to go back to work at a job that is not suitable given that person's pre-injury wages, benefits, age, experience, etc.

    And it is expected to abolish the current rule that prevents insurance adjusters and HR folks from calling the treating doctor and feeding him information without the knowledge or consent of the patient.

    The folks in our legislature who are pushing this are being pressured by the insurance companies to do something to increase their profits. It certainly is not being done to help the voters.

    The Oregon study puts NC in about the middle of the country for work comp costs. I doubt that the bill will require insurance companies to share their new larger profits with NC businesses that buy the insurance.

    In the good news department, AIG recently agreed to pay back over $13 Million to NC for its work comp premium fraud scheme.
    Bob Bollinger, Attorney
    Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law
    Charlotte, NC

  • #2
    Thanks, Bob. This is still being considered? It is not a done deal yet?

    Just wondering about any movement to block the bill, if so.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      I believe there is an act something like this being proposed in Illinois also.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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      • #4
        CBG-- the bill has not been filed yet, but we expect it any day now. In NC, the Republicans in November took over our legislature for the first time in 112 years, and they are pushing all kinds of tort reform ideas. They have already filed a Medical Malpractice reform bill, that among other things, immunizes everyone in the Emergency Room from professional negligence. In other words, an ER doc or nurse can accidently kill your spouse in the ER, and you have no claim to file. You have no recourse. You can only sue the ER doc or nurse if he or she was negligent and also drunk or high or intended to harm the patient.

        The ER is the source of a lot of malpractice claims. But letting all ER personnel off the hook for their preventable professsional errors is what the Republicans think is good for NC.

        We expect the work comp reform bill to look a lot like previous efforts that failed. It will cut off disability to disabled workers after a certain time period, shifting those costs to the taxpayers. It will allow adjusters to talk to trreating doctors and tell them anything, without the patient's knowledge or permission, and a couple of other provisions will be in it for the sole purpose of increasing insurance company profits at the expense of injured and disabled workers.

        The Republicans are trying to do all they can this term because they know that in 2 years, the voters will see the light and kick them back out of control. There are some good reasons why the voters of NC have not let them be in control for over a century!
        Last edited by complwyr; 02-14-2011, 11:37 AM.
        Bob Bollinger, Attorney
        Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law
        Charlotte, NC

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        • #5
          There you have it, NC posters. Time to get on the phone, the e-mail, the snail mail, whatever means of communication you fancy, but let your elected representatives know what you think of this bill and urge them not to support it.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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