Insurance Commissioner Says Reform Legislation Could Lower Workers’ Compensation Premiums
At a meeting with agribusiness leaders in Fresno Wednesday, Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi (D) said that recently passed workers' compensation reforms could rescind proposed increases in workers' compensation insurance premiums, the Fresno Bee reports. Garamendi said that for every $250 million saved under the reforms, premiums will be reduced 1%, adding that the reforms could eliminate an expected premium increase of 12%. Garamendi said he expects Gov. Gray Davis (D) to sign the Assembly- and Senate-approved bills before the Oct. 7 recall election. The reforms "should bring the stability of some reduction," Garamendi said, adding that they are a "good first step; it's not the complete package." Garamendi said that lawmakers should reform other issues in the workers' compensation system, including temporary-disability abuses; expanding the Medicare fee schedule; the permanent disability rating system; and delays, fraud and abuse throughout the system. Fraud committed by individual workers is not as costly as fraud committed by lawyers, chiropractors, doctors and individual businesses "cheating the system," Garamendi said, adding that that is "where the big bucks are." The agribusiness leaders were generally pleased with the reforms but agreed with Garamendi that more reforms are needed, according to the Bee. On Monday, Garamendi will hold an informational hearing in San Francisco on setting an advisory rate for workers' compensation premiums for next year (Pollock, Fresno Bee, 9/25).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.