W.Va. Workers’ Comp Fund Deficit Approaching $3 Billion

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise announced the state’s Workers’ Compensation Fund faces a deficit totaling between $2.5 and $3 billion.

According to The Charleston Gazette, the fund had showed deficits since 1995, when a reform plan was implemented to reduce the debt over the next 40 years. That year, the fund had a $2.2 billion deficit.

Since then, however, the debt has increased steadily, and now threatens the fund’s solvency.

State Insurance Commissioner Robert Smith has recommended an early return to work program to address the problem.

The fund’s executive director, Dale Newell, noted that considerable sums have been paid out to rehabilitate workers, with little to show for it. He suggested requiring generic drug prescriptions in order to save money.

For the first quarter of 2002, the fund reported $198 million in costs and $71 million in receipts.