For the fourth straight year, employers across the state could have to pay more for their workers’ compensation insurance.
Insurers are seeking a 1 percent increase in the insurance that employers purchase to cover on-the-job injuries. The main cause for the increase is that medical costs are outpacing declines in other expenses.
If state regulators approve the rate hike, it would go into effect Jan. 1.
Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty’s office stressed that even if the hike is granted, workers’ compensation rates will still have dropped by nearly 56 percent from where they were a decade ago.
In 2003, the Legislature passed a law aimed at reducing rates through provisions that include a limit on fees paid to lawyers for injured workers.
Earlier this year, state legislators passed a measure that capped how much doctors can get paid for prescribing certain drugs used by injured workers.
McCarty’s office said that savings from the drug rate cap took effect this summer and that those savings are reflected in the rate hike proposal.
This year’s proposed 1 percent increase is much smaller than those proposed for the past two years.
But in a news release, the Office of Insurance Regulation said it would propose legislation for the 2014 session that would attempt to lower costs even further.
The rate hike proposal was submitted this week by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The council is a rating and data collection agency owned by insurance companies. It submits rate filings on their behalf.
A public hearing will be held on the proposal in October.
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