Insurers Seek Veto of California Workers’ Comp Bills

September 17, 2008

The American Insurance Association says three measures on the way to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk should be vetoed because they will increase employers’ costs for workers’ compensation, weaken the utilization review process and bring uncertainty back to the system.

Thus, AIA has sent letters requesting vetoes for SB 1717 (Perata), AB 2969 (Lieber) and SB 1115 (Migden).

“SB 1717 will undermine the current rulemaking efforts by the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) to amend the Permanent Disability Rating Schedule. DWC’s regulatory process should be allowed to proceed because its suggested changes are based on appropriate studies and supporting data,” said Steve Suchil, AIA assistant vice president, state affairs. “AIA is requesting a veto of SB 1717 because it will also significantly raise the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for employers by increasing the number of benefit weeks for each level of disability. Similar bills have been vetoed in the past.”

AB 2969 (Lieber) would ban medical treatment utilization review by physicians licensed in states outside California.

“This bill will hamper the use of utilization review, limit the number of physicians available to conduct reviews, cause delays in treatment and increase system costs,” said Suchil. “The DWC has full authority to bring administrative remedies if there are abuses or problems.”

SB 1115, authored by Carol Migden (D-San Francisco) is intended to discourage discrimination against protected classes in the permanent disability benefit apportionment process.

“We fully concur with the intent behind SB 1115, unfortunately this bill will create uncertainty in the permanent disability determination process and result in unintended consequences,” said Suchil. “Bottom line: this bill is not necessary. Current law protects against discrimination based on age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or other factors. The DWC and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board already have the ability to address improper discrimination in the process.”

AIA has sent letters to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger-R requesting his veto of all three measures.

For information, visit www.aiadc.org.

Source: AIA

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