Businesses get a breather on workers’ comp rates
Florida businesses won’t have to worry about big increases next year in their workers’ compensation insurance rates.
The state Office of Insurance Regulation has rejected a proposed overall 1 percent increase in rates for 2014, though it would approve a 0.7 percent hike.
The decision follows increases of 6.1 percent, 8.9 percent and 7.8 percent during the past three years. Those hikes came after major rate cuts stemming from a 2003 law that overhauled the workers’ compensation system — an overhaul that, even with a potential slight uptick in 2014, has resulted in a cumulative rate reduction of 56 percent, according to the Office of Insurance Regulation.
Each year, the National Council on Compensation Insurance files rate proposals on behalf of workers’ compensation carriers. Regulators, in an order dated Tuesday, rejected a proposed 1 percent increase for 2014 but said NCCI could file for a 0.7 percent hike that would be approved.
Numerous factors go into workers’ compensation filings, but Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said in a prepared statement that rates could go down as much as 8.3 percent in the future if tighter limits were placed on reimbursements for care at hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. But such a proposal likely would touch off a legislative fight, as hospitals and other types of medical providers closely follow workers’ compensation issues.
Lawmakers during the 2013 session approved a compromise aimed at ending a long-running battle about the costs of drugs dispensed by doctors to workers’ compensation insurance patients.
Business groups argued that physicians dispensing of what are known as “repackaged” drugs drove up insurance costs, while doctors and other groups contended the practice helps ensure patients get and take needed medications.