Business

Florida Workers’ Comp Rates to Grow 6.1 Percent

By: Jim Turner | Posted: October 27, 2012 3:55 AM

Kevin McCarty

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation will approve a boost in workers’ compensation rates by 6.1 percent, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced Friday.

The new rate, once approved, would become effective Jan. 1, 2013.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance had sought to double the multiplier and increase minimum premiums by 25 percent, according to state records. However, the state office considered that the "combined effect of these two changes could double the premiums that very small employers pay to stay in business."

Still, “NCCI has provided sufficient evidence to support a rate increase based on a variety of cost factors experienced in the marketplace,” McCarty stated in a release.

“Even with this rate increase, Florida’s rates are still 56 percent below the rates prior to the 2003 reforms, and are competitive with other states nationally,” McCarty added. “However, I look forward to working with Florida’s policymakers during the upcoming legislative session to address cost-drivers in the system.”

Because of reforms implemented in 2003, the rate is still more than 50 percent lower than what business paid for the insurance a decade ago, according to state records.

The new rate change comes on the heels of a 7.8 percent increase in 2010 and 8.9 percent in 2011.

NCCI had estimated before an Oct. 4 hearing on their rate increase that the state could see potential savings of 1.1 percent by capping how much physicians can charge when dispensing prescription medications from their office, and 5.5 percent by bringing for in-patient hospital, out-patient hospital and ambulatory care center reimbursements even with other states.

For the third consecutive year, a bill aimed at reducing the cost of medicine prescribed and dispensed out of a doctor’s office or health clinic, known as drug repackaging, failed either to get through the Legislature or beyond a governor's veto.

Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, has claimed Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, kept the bill from reaching the Senate floor.

State economists estimated -- though they could never back up with hard numbers -- that SB 668 could have saved businesses collectively $62 million next year, with the state government’s impact from workers’ compensation claims dipping by $1 million.

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist in 2010 vetoed a measure that would have limited costs of physician-dispensed drugs to workers' compensation patients.

The bill has been backed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida, with the primary opposition coming from Automated HealthCare Solutions, a Miramar-based company that sells software used in dispensing.



Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.



Comments (1)

Dr Daniel K
8:57PM OCT 30TH 2012
The work comp system is bogged down with administrative red tape and locked in a self serving referral network, based on a outdated model of care. True reform using more cost effective, conservative care, such as active physical therapy modalities, massage, chiropractic and acupuncture would save countless dollars on expensive medication that do nothing more than extend work absences, create addictions and prolong injured status. By opening networks and ridding "mismanaged care" all providers could work together to care for the injured of the state. Why not create incentive to have better outcomes instead of cutting provider fees. Increasing premiums simply lines the pockets of insurers and does nothing to help the injured of the state who I see, often outside of the work comp system because of poor case management and fear and intimidation from employers who refuse to file claims or threaten termination if they do.

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