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Minimum wage increases could hike workers compensation costs

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 26, 2015 - 6:00am CST

The issue of higher minimum wages is being watched by workers comp experts in the wake of Fight for $15 protests seeking a $15 minimum wage across the U.S., and McDonald's USA L.L.C.'s April announcement that it would raise employee pay to $1 above the locally mandated minimum wage for its corporate stores as of July 1.

Brian W. Merkley keeps Huntsman's owner-controlled insurance program in-house

By: Judy Greenwald

Published April 26, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Huntsman Corp.'s owner-controlled insurance program has saved the company about $20 million since its inception, according to Brian W. Merkley, the Salt Lake City-based chemical manufacturers' global director of corporate risk management.

Wearables may not be so bad for insurers after all

Published April 26, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Wearable devices have created new risks and liability concerns, but in our latest In Focus video, we explore some of the ways insurers are beginning to use these tiny technological gadgets to their advantage.

Construction firms caught misclassifying workers must pay up

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 24, 2015 - 11:26am CST

The U.S. Department of Labor says a federal investigation has led 16 Utah and Arizona businesses to pay $700,000 in back wages, damages, penalties and other fees for misclassifying construction workers as company owners rather than employees.

Workers comp drug formulary bill moves in California

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 23, 2015 - 1:29pm CST

A California bill that would establish a closed formulary for medications prescribed in the workers compensation system has unanimously passed the Assembly Insurance Committee.

NFL concussion class action settlement approved

By: Bill Kenealy

Published April 23, 2015 - 10:00am CST

A federal judge in Philadelphia on Wednesday granted final approval to a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by more than 4,500 former players against the National Football League for concussion-related injuries.

Controls limit workers comp drug price rise to 1.9%: Express Scripts

By: Sheena Harrison and Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 23, 2015 - 8:25am CST

Utilization controls for workers compensation pharmaceutical claims have limited opioid painkiller and compounded drug usage and helped contain escalating costs for those drug categories, pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Inc. said.

More workers died on the job in 2013 than originally reported

By: Bill Kenealy

Published April 22, 2015 - 2:08pm CST

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday released revised worker fatality data showing that 4,585 workers died on the job in 2013, up from the preliminary count of 4,405 reported in September 2014.

Air ambulance payer rules codified in North Dakota

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 22, 2015 - 1:05pm CST

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signed a bill into law that defines the situations in which workers compensation and other payers should cover air ambulance services.

Workers comp prescription drug costs up in 2014

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 21, 2015 - 3:00pm CST

Workers compensation prescription drug spending per worker increased 1.9% last year, but a 5.4% decrease in drug utilization helped offset a 7% increase in overall prescription costs, according to pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Inc.

California workers comp insurer premiums up 11%

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 21, 2015 - 2:42pm CST

Written premium for California workers compensation insurers reached $16.5 billion last year, up 11% from 2013, the California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau says.

BMX biker pleads guilty to workers comp fraud

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 20, 2015 - 2:57pm CST

A worker in Washington state pleaded guilty to stealing more than $14,000 in disability benefits after he was caught racing BMX bikes, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries said.

Tennessee comp insurer of last resort to get new administrator

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 17, 2015 - 12:01pm CST

The National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. will serve as the plan administrator for Tennessee’s residual workers compensation market as of July 1, according to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Arkansas workers comp rates to decrease

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 17, 2015 - 10:26am CST

Arkansas employers will soon see workers compensation rate decreases in the voluntary and assigned-risk markets, the Arkansas Insurance Department said.

Designer jeans subcontracting firms dressed in multimillion comp scheme accusation

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 16, 2015 - 2:43pm CST

The CEOs of two subcontracting firms have been arrested after being accused of an $11 million workers compensation fraud scheme, the California Department of Insurance said Thursday.

Revised settlement offer filed in NCAA concussion lawsuit

By: Bill Kenealy

Published April 16, 2015 - 11:48am CST

Lawyers representing the NCAA and a group of former football players who are suing the association for head injuries in U.S. District Court in Chicago have presented a new settlement offer to a federal judge.

Patient transport helps build bridge back to work

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 16, 2015 - 11:22am CST

Providing injured workers with nonemergency transportation services can improve outcomes and return-to-work times.

School district liable for injured teacher's unauthorized medical costs

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 15, 2015 - 2:08pm CST

A Tennessee teacher who fell in her classroom is entitled to an 8% impairment rating, and her employer is obligated to cover her unauthorized medical expenses under a workers compensation claim, the state’s Supreme Court ruled.

Drywall contracting firm hit with $1 million comp repay

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 15, 2015 - 12:56pm CST

The owner of a former Washington state drywall contracting firm has been ordered to pay $1 million in delinquent workers compensation premiums and penalties after a state insurance board found that he misclassified his employees as co-owners to avoid paying premiums, according to the state Department of Labor and Industries.

High Court won’t consider case ordering Mexican firm to repay workers comp

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 15, 2015 - 11:06am CST

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider the case of a Mexican transportation company ordered to repay the state of Arizona for workers compensation benefits paid to a Mexican truck driver who was injured in state.

Nurse’s claim of hospital’s malicious intent in injury by patient dismissed

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 14, 2015 - 2:58pm CST

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has dismissed a deliberate intent suit a nurse filed against her employer after she was allegedly injured by a patient.

Scottish asbestos proposal under fire from insurers

By: Sarah Veysey

Published April 14, 2015 - 9:25am CST

A proposed bill that would enable the Scottish government to recover the cost of treating victims of asbestos-related disease from insurers could push up insurance rates and may even be unlawful.

OSHA allies with chemical hazard group to boost safety

By: Bill Kenealy

Published April 13, 2015 - 4:17pm CST

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced on Monday a renewed alliance with the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication to help mitigate worker exposure to chemicals hazards.

Woman unemployed since 1994 denied disability pay

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 13, 2015 - 3:43pm CST

An Ohio woman injured in a slip-and-fall accident at work three decades ago can’t receive workers compensation benefits for continuing injuries because she voluntarily left the workforce in 1994, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled.

Courts determine when a work injury fails to qualify as workers comp claim

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published April 12, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Workers compensation payers should consider the increased risk test when evaluating benefits for injured workers in light of recent court rulings.

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