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Denn offers ways to stop workers’ comp increases

Task force: More scrutiny needed for rate hike requests
May 21, 2013

Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, chairman of Delaware’s Workers’ Compensation Task Force, presented recommendations to Gov. Jack Markell and the General Assembly May 13 to stop workers’ compensation rate increases.

Created by House Joint Resolution 3, the task force was established to address the 34 percent increase in average workers’ compensation rates over the last two years.

Denn worked with the General Assembly in 2006 and 2007 to enact workers’ compensation reforms that cut rates by more than 40 percent.  He has chaired weekly meetings of the task force to address recent rate increases and come up with solutions.  All meetings were open to the public, provided an opportunity for public comment, audio-recorded and posted on Denn’s website with all documents presented at the meetings.

HJR 3 gave the Workers’ Compensation Task Force authority to direct the Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau to submit information to the task force for consideration.  The task force used this authority to obtain hundreds of pages of narrative information and data from the DCRB.

Task force recommendations include placing tighter controls on workers’ compensation medical costs by establishing a two-year inflation freeze on the fee schedule for medical treatment of workers’ compensation recipients.  The group also recommends a permanent reduction in the inflation rate for hospital treatment of workers’ compensation recipients and reductions in some medical reimbursements.

The task force says insurance carriers’ requests for rate increases should receive a high level of scrutiny, including the retention of a part-time attorney to represent businesses during the workers’ compensation rate-setting process and a system to ensure that insurers are enforcing the state’s medical cost controls.

The group also says improvements are needed in the state’s workplace safety program.

The members of the group also recommend that Markell and General Assembly keep the Workers’ Compensation Task Force in existence so it can monitor the impact of its recommendations and suggest stricter measures with respect to medical costs if necessary.

To read the entire report, go to ltgov.delaware.gov.