Workers' compensation is a specific kind of insurance employers purchase to cover employees who are injured on the job. As such, the cost of doing business safely and legally in New York includes the rates employers must pay for their workers' compensation insurance.
The New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board has successfully petitioned to lower that cost for 2019.
According to the Times Union, the requested reduction of 11.7 percent is an average, which means that individual employers may see vastly different adjustments to their own premiums. All told, however, this reduction is expected to manifest as a $1 billion reduction in premiums paid statewide. The hope is that the money freed from operating costs will benefit the New York economy.
John Flanagan, New York Senate Majority Leader, claimed that "We know how important it is to help businesses reduce out-of-control mandated costs, while also continuing to protect injured workers." Lev Ginsberg, of the New York State Business Council, stated that this decrease was a reflection of growing safety in New York workplaces.
The rate decrease, which was approved by the New York Department of Financial Services, will go into effect on October 1. In the meantime, employers across New York and the insurance sector are looking at this in light of 2017 reforms and considering what will actually change. The Insurance Journal ran a brief overview of the reforms shortly after the rate decrease was approved.
How workers can be affected
The goal of the reforms was to provide needed protection for workers while correcting bureaucratic costs that were making it difficult for employers to stay in business. This included reducing the threshold for the permanent partial disability cap "safety net" and removing previous requirements that an injured worker who qualifies for benefits prove their attachment to a labor market. This will make it easier for those injured on the job to collect workers' compensation benefits.
It is anticipated that there will be a pharmaceutical formulary adopted as part of the ongoing reforms, which would help lower costs alongside changes that have already gone into effect. However, pharmaceutical formularies can place restrictions on the types of medication injured workers have access to.
We applaud the drive to ensure employers can grow and hire a larger workforce without sacrificing the safety of that workforce. Workers in New York deserve to know that their health and safety are being protected and that they are covered if something goes wrong on the job.
If you or a loved one have suffered a workplace injury and workers' compensation has not come through for you, contact us today to discuss your options.