Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Benefit payments are down, profits are up. Instead of passing these savings on to Illinois businesses, insurers are throwing parties complete with Hummer limos, go-go dancers, a live alligator and glowing aliens in spandex. This is according to the next edition of the ProPublica/NPR investigation into the race to the bottom occurring nationwide. ProPublica investigated the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo. They reported that there are more than 150 such conferences a year, bringing together claims professionals (adjusters) and members of the cost containment cottage industries that serve them: companies that provide networks of doctors and companies that review medical bills, firms that provide expert medical opinions and firms that specialize in complex claims, defense lawyers, data processing firms, rehab facilities, surveillance companies, outside claims shops, occupational medicine clinics, pain management services, translators, schedulers, headhunters, labs that test injured workers’ urine for illegal drugs, labs that test urine to ensure workers are taking the prescribed drugs instead of selling them. These groups have a lot to celebrate, many of them have seen their stock prices double in the last couple years. But the growth of these cost containment firms has added another layer of cold bureaucracy and complication to an already complex system that the average worker finds himself lost in.
Tell Governor Rauner that you know better. The benefits provided to injured workers is not what needs reform. Further reforms should focus on insurance industry and self-insureds’ transparency and oversight. The Legislative Research Unit reports that workers’ compensation costs for State employees fell 8% between 2013 and 2014, however other self-insured employers, such as Caterpillar, have refused to disclose the savings they are experiencing from the 2011 Amendments. There are two bills pending that would create a task force to study premium rates and self-insurance transparency: House Bill 1287 and Senate Bill 162.
If you ever have any questions about the hard facts, give us a call at (312) 372-8282. We are happy to answer any questions you have about personal injury or workers’ compensation.