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.