Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bloglines - News Release: 5 Years of Schwarzenegger's Work Comp Law: Record High Insurance Company Profits, Record Low Injured Worker Care and Compensation

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News Release: 5 Years of Schwarzenegger's Work Comp Law: Record High Insurance Company Profits, Record Low Injured Worker Care and Compensation

By caaaAdmin on news release

Wednesday, April 21, 2009

Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546;

5 Years of Schwarzenegger's Work Comp Law: Record High Insurance Company Profits, Record Low Injured Worker Care and Compensation

SACRAMENTO - Five years after passage of Governor Schwarzenegger's SB 899, injured workers and their advocates today said the law "has failed Californians injured on the job." VotersInjuredatWork.org and the California Applicants' Attorneys' Association (CAAA) today released their analysis of how the law has impacted hundreds of thousands of Californians injured at work. "Most of the insurance premium dollars that employers have paid have gone to insurance company profits and expenses, not to care for on-the-job injuries nor to compensate permanently disabled workers," said CAAA President Todd McFarren. "Injured workers have seen their disability compensation plummet to near the bottom of the 50 states. Medical care has been delayed and denied to the point that most physicians have withdrawn from treating injured workers. This is contrary to what was promised, and the governor has refused to remedy this horrible situation for Californians injured while working." Gov. Schwarzenegger has harmed injured workers by:

  • Cutting permanent disability compensation by up to 70%
  • Reducing access to medical treatment
  • Taking away injured workers' choice of doctor
  • Allowing insurance carriers to pocket billions from denying medical care
  • Cutting off temporary disability to the most severely injured workers
  • Reducing disability compensation to minorities, women and seniors through discriminatory "apportionment"

"Gov. Schwarzenegger's law continues to harm Californians injured on the job," said Jesse Ceniceros, president of VotersInjuredatWork.org, a non-profit political organization of injured workers and their families. "The administration has put insurance companies ahead of disabled workers. While insurance carriers racked up record profits, injured workers have set new records for bankruptcy, home foreclosure and suicide. Injured workers are still waiting for the governor's promised revision of compensation for permanent disabilities while insurance companies increase premiums."

Permanent disability compensation has been drastically cut

Multiple independent studies, including studies conducted by the California Commission on Health, Safety and Workers Compensation (CHSWC), and the Administration itself, have documented fifty to seventy percent cuts in compensation for permanent disabilities.

Insurance carrier profits skyrocketed under Schwarzenegger's law

"Since 2004, when SB 899 was enacted, the largest portion of employers' premiums has gone to insurers' profits and expenses, not to injured workers' care or compensation for their permanent disabilities. Insurance companies have pocketed $26 billion in profits - record highs, while injured workers' care and compensation have fallen to record lows," said McFarren.

Proposed rate increase is not necessary

McFarren announced that his organization is opposing the insurance industry's proposal to increase workers compensation premiums by more than 24%. The advocates noted that insurance premium rates continued to decline through the end of 2008, dropping to $2.25 per $100 of payroll. This is the lowest rate in several decades, and is down over 65% from its peak of $6.45 at the end of 2003.

"The insurance industry failed to account for an unprecedented drop in the number of workers compensation claims for permanent disability compensation since SB 899 took effect. And much of this proposed increase, supposedly due to higher medical costs, is actually going to pay for insurers' expenses to review, and usually deny, requests for medical care, rather than providing the care injured workers need so that they can return to work," said McFarren. "The insurance carriers' rate hikes would not go to injured workers, but mostly be profits or pay the skyrocketing cost of denying medical care and permanent disability compensation."

Click here to read the rest of the release.


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