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Wash. state proposes temporary comp relief in 2007


OLYMPIA, Wash.--Employers and workers in Washington state could save an estimated $315 million in workers compensation premiums if a Department of Labor and Industries proposal to suspend rates for six months in 2007 is approved by the department.

Under the plan, employers and workers would not have to make any payments into the Medical Aid Fund for the second half of 2007.

This savings would come on top of an overall 2% decrease in the average premium rate, a change the department is also considering for 2007. If both the decrease and the rate suspension are approved, employers and workers would save about $345 million in 2007.

The state is offering to scale back its workers' compensation premiums to help cash in on a surplus in the medical fund's reserves, according to the department's acting director, Judy Schurke.

"The Medical Aid Fund currently has more money than is necessary to pay health benefits for injured workers," she said in a statement this week. "We have an obligation to use the surplus to reduce the cost to our customers."