California Workers' Compensation Insurance Outlook

October 16, 2017

For employers in California, keeping up with the latest development in workers’ compensation insurance is a priority. Here’s a look at what’s happening now, and what can be expected in the future.

Medical providers are being suspended for fraud.

As of October 12, 49 medical providers have been suspended from participating in California’s workers’ compensation system this year. This total includes three new suspensions that were announced on October 12, as well as eight suspensions that were announced on October 5.

The suspensions are the result of Assembly Bill 1244, which requires medical providers to be suspended from participating in the state’s workers’ compensation system in response to convictions or suspensions based on fraud or abuse of Medicare, Medi-Cal or the workers’ compensation system. Health care providers whose licenses or certificates have been surrendered or revoked also face suspension under the law. Assembly Bill 1244 went into effect on January 1, 2017.

Liens are dismissed over missing forms.

Senate Bill 1160, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, required a new lien form to help verify than liens were legitimate. The law also required claimants who had filed liens between 2013 and 2016 to file declarations by July 1, 2017.

Approximately 292,000 liens have been dismissed over failure to file the required declaration.

A study looks at opioid use in claims involving mental health disorders.

The United States is in the midst of an opioid crisis. According to the CDC, 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day. Although this includes the street drug heroin, many overdoses are caused by prescription opioids. Lethal overdoses from prescription opioids have quadrupled since 2010.

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute conducted a study assessing the use of opioid prescriptions in claims involving metal health disorders compared to those not involving mental health disorders. The results indicate that the average number of opioid prescriptions per claim and the average potency of the opioids are both higher in claims involving mental health disorders.

The 2017 State of the System report is published.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau released its annual report on California’s workers’ compensation system. The in-depth report looks at the cost of workers’ compensation insurance including premiums and claims. 

According to the report, premiums levels have flattened, while average indemnity costs and average medical costs are increasing. Compared to other states, California has a very high permanent disability claim frequency.

Is it Time to Take Control?

Heffernan Insurance is your partner in taking control of California workers’ compensation insurance costs. In addition to traditional insurance, we offer risk retention groups, captive arrangements, self-insurance options and more. Ask your Heffernan agent for ideas to help improve your workers’ compensation insurance experience.