A national study is the latest proof of why the Oklahoma workers’ compensation system is considered one of the worst in the nation, according to the Oklahoma Injury Benefit Coalition.
The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services’ biennial study ranks workers’ compensation rates in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Its 2012 study shows that despite reform attempts, Oklahoma’s rates continue to be among the most expensive in the country, resulting in Oklahoma businesses facing the sixth highest premiums in the nation.
The challenges to the state’s workers’ compensation system are not new to the state’s employers or employees. According to the more than 5,000 employers who responded to Gov. Mary Fallin’s “Fallin for Business” survey in 2012, the state’s workers’ compensation system is the number one challenge to doing business in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Insurance Commission John D. Doak recently announced that workers’ compensation premiums will increase again in 2013. Doak, who has called for bold action to fix the system, says that several large employers have indicated if workers’ comp isn’t aggressively addressed in the next legislative session, they may have no choice but to leave the state.
Major Oklahoma employers confirm that workers’ compensation is their number one economic issue. Business leaders indicate it remains one of the key economic indicators looked at by out-of-state businesses interested in relocating to Oklahoma. Over the years, many workers’ compensation reform bills have been passed. Unfortunately, costs seem to be rising and employer frustrations continue.
During its 2012 sessions, the Oklahoma legislature came within a handful of votes of passing the Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act – an alternative that many considered to be an improved version of a system that has proven effective in Texas. The alternative would have provided employers an option to the current Worker’s Compensation Court. The proposal, expected to be an economic game-changer for Oklahoma, has led to better medical outcomes for employees, more efficient resolution of injury claims and high approval ratings from Texas workers. The proposal is expected to be offered again during the 2013 session.
Source: Oklahoma Injury Benefit Coalition