Illinois Proposes Changes To Workers Compensation Laws:
On March 20th, Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Carbon presented four bills that are geared at changing the workers compensation policies in Illinois.
The bills were not voted on but Rep. Dwight Kay did present them to the Labor & Commerce Committee and provided testimony.
The four bills are 1245, 1246, 2229, and 2769.
Bill HB2229 would amend the Workers Compensation Occupational Diseases acts.
Bill HB2769 would change how workers compensation benefits’ are paid out when an employee files a claim that has sustained a previous injury that resulted in partial disability.
Bill HB1245 changes how state employee’s claims are made.
Bill HB1246 would require the Department of Central Management Services to charge the employing state agency for workers’ compensation payments for medical expenses and temporary total disability paid to an employee. Current law only does this in certain situations dealing with temporary total disability payments (Madison-St. Clair Record).
The proposed bill that is most alarming is HB2229. This bill would add a distinction between EMT’s and Firefighters. Currently EMT’s and Firefighters are classified the same in regards to workers compensation. HB2229 amends the verbiage to say “certain rebuttable presumptions regarding certain conditions of a firefighter, emergency medical technician (EMT), or paramedic.” The bill would also delete the section that says: blood borne pathogens and tuberculosis as conditions to which those provisions apply.
So why are these bills so important?
These bills are important because the state of Illinois ranked 4th in 2012 for highest workers comp rates in the country. The proposed bills may not effect a lot of business in Illinois but it is sign that the state realizes changes need to be made.
Illinois has five border states, and in 2012 all of those states offered drastically lower workers comp rates. Wisconsin ranked 12th, Kentucky ranked 22nd, Iowa ranked 25th, Missouri ranked 36th, and neighboring state Indiana Workers Compensation ranked an impressive 50th.
When IL business owners understand that there are 5 states bordering Illinois who’s rates are that much lower, it has to raise the question: Why not move to one of those states?
The state of Illinois is finally starting to see the big picture. Businesses are not going to stick around when they have so many more affordable options for insurance.
While the workers compensation reform is not going to effect most people immediately, the changes are coming and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Who knows, maybe by this time next year Illinois will no longer be in the top 5 for the highest rates in the country!
Learn more about Illinois workers compensation insurance.