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Will the Illinois House Scrap Workers Comp?

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Illinois House Debates Scrapping Workers Comp Program – What?

If the Illinois House scraps the state’s Workers Compensation System, what will happen to the businesses and their employees? The system has been much criticized, but should these businesses and employees have to battle in court for payment for workplace injuries? There was tentative approval for legislation in a voice vote on Thursday. Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, plans to hold the final vote as soon as possible. During a debate Bradley admitted that what they’ve been doing so far just wasn’t working. He wants to try something else by giving the courts a chance.

Picture Of Illinois House Scrap Damage
Wikimedia – FEMA

Rep. Bradley has been the leader in trying to overhaul the system and says that this proposed scrapping is not just a stunt to try to shake things up. There have been complaints that the Illinois system is among the costliest in the nation and some would rather see it lost completely rather than having the system gutted. The major allegations from businesses are that it is possible for workers to win payments without providing real proof that an injury is, in fact, job related. There are also arguments that medical care prices are set too high and that the system revolves disputes in the favor of the worker.

Labor groups seem to see no reason to change things at all. They admit that the system is slow and inefficient. Without it, they say injured employees would be wiped out by medical bills and lost wages and would face long, expensive court battles.

Medical groups also are resistant to change. Could this be because these members are paid to take care of injured workers?

Picture Of Illinois House Scrap
Wikimedia – Palmer, Alfred T.

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s opinion is that there are a few businesses who would “take the deal”. But on the whole, the Chamber is of the opinion that it would create more problems than it would solve, and that there are too many unknowns.

There is a proposal by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn that would limit payments for things such as carpal tunnel syndrome and would deny payments to claimants that were drunk at the time of the injury. It would also require tougher reviews before authorization. But this proposal does not address the demand by business that injuries must be proven to be job-related.

Federal Prosecutors have become involved after newspaper reports stated that hundreds of employees at one prison received awards. Some of the arbitrators who decide Workers Comp disputes received awards as well.

 

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications

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