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NH workers' comp costs exploding
“As workers’ compensation medical payments soar higher for Granite State businesses, New Hampshire has become one of the most expensive states in the nation for workers’ compensation,” she said in a statement. “Employers and workers have done their part to increase workplace safety, but high workers’ compensation costs remain a burden on our businesses.”
New Hampshire is one of only six states nationwide without a such fee schedule, said Deb Stone, actuary and director of market regulation at the Insurance Department.
“I have supported legislation that would have created a commission to examine these issues and recommend solutions. But that legislation recently died, and I do not believe that we can wait until the next legislative session to begin working on solutions,” said Hassan. “That is why I will be creating a task force of workers, businesses, insurers and members of the health care community to make recommendations to reform the workers’ compensation system in order to reduce costs for our workers and businesses and to support their efforts to keep our economy moving forward.”
A disturbing trend
Employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance so that people who are injured or disabled on the job do not have to cover medical bills related to their on-the-job injury. The program also provides for some income replacement during the period of disability.
If the trend is not slowed or reversed, officials fear that costs will force insurers out of the workers’ compensation market, create an unsustainable burden on employers and increase the likelihood that more employers will try to classify their workers as independent contractor to avoid workers’ compensation costs.
“We believe this is a good first step,” she said of the Insurance Department analysis. “We’re interested in reviewing more data and being part of further discussions with all stakeholders to determine the best approach for our workers’ comp system in New Hampshire.”
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