Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries has proposed raising workers’ compensation rates 3.2 percent in 2008, with the average premium increasing by just more than 2 cents per hour worked. L&I indicated the rate increase would help to keep pace with inflation, bringing in about $58 million.
“Wage-replacement costs for injured workers are up 5.4 percent and we expect workers’ health-care costs to grow by 5.5 percent,” said L&I Director Judy Schurke. “Our proposed increase for 2008 would not cover all these higher costs. However, past strong investment earnings will allow us to make up the difference and help keep rates stable.”
The 2008 rate proposal follows a 2 percent decrease in average premiums this year and a current partial rate holiday in the second half of 2007 that is saving employers and workers $315 million. Individual employers could see their rates go up or down, depending on their recent claims history and any changes in the frequency and cost of claims in their industry. L&I has published online and will soon send to employers the proposed 2008 rate tables by industry.
Under L&I’s proposal, the Accident Fund rate would decrease 4.5 percent. Employers pay premiums in this fund. The Medical Aid Fund rate would go up by 10.5 percent, and the Supplemental Pension Fund rate would increase 17.1 percent. Employers and workers contribute equal premiums for the latter two funds.
Final 2008 rates will be adopted in late November following five public hearings. Written comments on the proposal are being accepted through Nov. 6, may be e-mailed to Ronald Moore, Employer Services Program Manager, at MOOA235@LNI.wa.gov. Or mail him at the Department of Labor and Industries, P.O. Box 44140, Olympia, WA 98504-4140. Faxed comments should go to 360-902-4729.
For the schedule of public hearings, visit www.lni.wa.gov.
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