Safety and OSHA News

Will California’s new workers’ comp law lower costs?

Starting next year, California will enact a number of changes in its workers’ comp law aimed at reducing costs for businesses but also increasing benefits for some injured employees.

Governor Jerry Brown (D) recently signed into law a measure that is estimated to save California businesses $1 billion in workers’ comp costs next year.

The bill:

  • creates a binding arbitration process to resolve coverage disputes, virtually eliminating appeals
  • eliminates coverage for conditions that most commonly lead to lawsuits, including insomnia, mental health problems and sexual dysfunction
  • shortens the timeline for approval of treatment from two years to three months, and
  • limits the role of chiropractors so they wouldn’t be able to serve as a worker’s primary care doctor after hitting a cap of 24 visits per year.

Needless to say, lawyers, chiropractors and mental health professionals who will be seeing less business because of the provisions that kick in Jan. 1, 2013, aren’t happy about the new law.

The average benefits for injured workers are predicted to increase 29%. Compensation will increase $860 million a year.

Do you think the new law will perform as predicted? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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