Garamendi Will Consider Recommending Further Cuts to Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rates
Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi (D) at a public hearing on Friday will consider an industry group's recommendation that workers' compensation insurance rates be reduced by another 15.9% for new and renewed policies beginning in 2006, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
Legislators restructured the state's workers' compensation program in 2003 and 2004 with new laws that put limits on medical fees, placed restrictions on choice of doctors and set new rules on how injuries can be treated. In addition, the changes reduced cash benefits by placing a two-year limit on temporary disability payments and limiting benefits for permanent disabilities.
Since the changes have taken effect, workers' compensation insurers have reduced their rates, reducing employers' premium payments, but further savings are justified, Garamendi said (Fricker, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 9/12).
It was "terrible public policy" to stall a bill that applied Medi-Cal rate caps to prescription drugs sold to workers' compensation claimants by doctors, a Riverside Press-Enterprise editorial states, adding that "this loophole inflates the cost of doing business in California" because of "exorbitant markups" of drugs sold by doctors. The editorial states that the bill could "save millions in workers' compensation costs" and that the delay on legislative action is "inexcusable" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.