New Administration Looking to Overhaul Florida's Workers' Comp Print
Written by Tom Murphy   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 08:38

2011 Workers' Compensation Update

Even before he ever took office it was clear that Governor Rick Scott was serious about changing Florida's legislative and regulatory landscape. One of his campaign pledges included reducing workers' compensation costs by 35%. He recently renewed this pledge to the Florida Council of 100 shortly after taking office. This could be a formidable task given the fact that Florida rates have decreased by 64.7% since the major legislative reform in 2003.

Recently, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty approved a 7.8% rate increase that went into effect on 1/1/11. The reasons for the current rate increase are changes in claims experience and frequency. The dramatic decline in claims between 2003 and 2007 appears to have slowed, leading some experts to assert that the 2003 reforms have run their course.

Many industry leaders believe that the only possible way to cut workers' compensation costs further would be to change benefits or reforms associated with prescription drug benefits. One specific recommendation is legislation that would apply the pharmaceutical fee schedule to repackaged or relabeled drugs. Additionally, the legislature may find itself dealing with other issues, such as apportionment, that involve separating costs associated with pre-existing injuries.

One thing is clear. Nobody knows how the current legislature will respond to Governor Scott's ambitions to further reduce Florida's workers' compensations costs. Undoubtedly, he will push forward for these changes that will be welcomed by medical practices and all Florida businesses and vehemently opposed by injured workers and their attorneys

Tom Murphy is a medical malpractice and workers' compensation insurance specialist with Danna-Gracey, a boutique insurance agency specializing in medical malpractice and workers compensation for Florida's medical community. To contact him call (561) 276-3553 or (800) 966-2120, or e-mail tom@dannagracey.com.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 April 2011 14:26