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The percentage of private year-round employers in Texas that opted out of the state workers compensation system decreased to 22% in 2016 from 33% in 2014, according to a report released Monday by the Texas Department of Insurance.
Texas is the only state that allows employers to opt out of buying workers comp insurance, giving employers the option of offering an alternative benefit plan or dealing with tort litigation in the event of a workplace injury.
Regulators, who delivered their report to state lawmakers this week, say Texas has the lowest percentage of workers comp nonsubscribers since 1993.
“Nonsubscription rates remain an important performance measure in the workers’ compensation system because they generally show if employers believe the benefits of participating in the workers’ compensation system outweigh the costs of obtaining the coverage,” the report states.
The report notes that workers comp rates have fallen in the state, “making workers’ compensation coverage more affordable for Texas employers.”
Employers paid an average of 96 cents in workers comp premiums per $100 of payroll in 2014, down from $1 in 2013 and a high of $2.34 in 2003.
The workers comp claim frequency is also decreasing, according to the report. The insurance department found that the non‐fatal occupational injury and illness rate in Texas decreased to 2.3 injuries per 100 full‐time employees in 2015, down from a rate of 2.4 injuries per 100 full-time employees in 2014 and 3.6 injuries per 100 full-time employees in 2005.
Texas reported a large decline in the prescribing of “N” drugs for injured workers since the state's pharmacy controlled formulary was put into place, according to a July report.