Vermont Gov. Douglas Signs Law Amending WC Filing Limit and Requiring Medical Fee Schedule

May 28, 2004

Vermont Gov. James Douglas (R) has signed important workers’ compensation reform legislation (H. 632) supported by the insurance industry including the American Insurance Association (AIA).

The new law reduces the statute of limitations for filing a claim from six years to three years and it requires the commissioner of labor and industry to establish a medical fee schedule by Feb. 1, 2005.

“While this bill does not include all of the reforms AIA sought during this legislative session, it does make significant improvements to the system that should help contain costs for employers,” said Laura Kersey, AIA assistant vice president, northeast region.

Before adjourning its 2004 session on May 21, the Vermont legislature acted on a number of other measures. They passed a budget item to conduct a study about medical malpractice insurance in the state.

Restrictions on the ability of companies to locate operations outside the U.S., contained in H. 648, were defeated.

Finally, a bill (H. 780) to expand underinsured motorist coverage by reversing the Vermont Supreme Court decision in Colwell v. Allstate passed despite opposition from the insurance industry. AIA has urged Gov. Douglas to veto this legislation because a study by the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration showed that it will increase auto insurance costs and varies from the way most states deal with underinsured motorist coverage.

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