There are two bills that will appear before the State Legislature which could bring about savings for workers compensation created by workers comp reform from 2007. The two bills would give injured workers the ability to choose a pharmacy which matched the state’s published prices for prescriptions even if that pharmacy was not included in the network of pharmacies offered by an employer’s network. This change has been shown to bring about savings between 10-20%.
The second bill would stop any New York State Medical Treatment Guideline which was adopted by the Workers Compensation Board from being applicable to injured which happened before the guideline for treatment was adopted by the Workers Compensation Board. These guidelines which were adopted in 2009 after a process of review between business and labor medical advisory committee and public input that took three years. Through these guidelines, standards of care and medical treatments were identified for the purpose of being effective and appropriate for treating workers injuries.
No matter how the two bills fare in legislation, the truth remains that workers compensation rates are still rising in New York. The higher costs are driven by the increases in maximum benefits that go along with the state’s average weekly wage increase and the slow pace of key system reform tactics. In October 2011, the New York State Insurance Department gave their approval for an average rate increase of 9.1 percent just after a 2010 increase of 7.7 percent.
Between the years of 2009 and 2012, workers compensation rates have increased roughly 32.9 percent. Employers are now paying 50 percent more of their compensation payments in assessments in order to fund the compensation system than they did just three years ago. This has had a negative impact on the ability for New York-based businesses to create new private-sector jobs.