The weak oversight and laws currently in place make Illinois an attractive place for insurance companies to do business. There are 332 companies writing workers’ comp insurance in Illinois, more than there are in any other state in America. A report from the Illinois Department of Insurance found profits of workers’ comp insurance companies increased 22 percent in the four years since laws were rewritten in 2011. Companies made those profits while simultaneously decreasing the amount of money they paid out on claims. Companies continue to deny valid claims, cut benefits, and reduce medical reimbursements.
By reducing the money they pay out, insurance companies shift the financial burden for medical bills and lost income to taxpayers. Medicaid and other public assistance programs must pay the shortfall for affected workers as the insurance company profits steadily climb.
Better oversight is needed for workers’ comp companies
The report from the Illinois Department of Insurance found that workers comp insurers in the state have exploited a 2011 rewrite of Illinois laws and dropped their payouts to well below the national average. Rather than passing any savings to employers and employees, the insurance companies kept these savings as profits. Gov. Rauner feels that Illinois should follow the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. Massachusetts doctors who provided care for people suffering work-related injuries are the lowest paid in the country. This only serves to reduce the quality of care individuals receive and limit injured workers’ choice of physicians. Legislatures should make protecting the rights of individuals and improving workplace safety their top priority when it comes to changing the workers’ compensation system of Illinois. A Crystal Lake worker compensation attorney can advise injured workers on their best course of action.
Insurers oppose reform of Illinois workers’ comp system
Lobbyists for the insurance industry are speaking out against Illinois House Amendment 4 to SB 2901. The proposed bill would give state regulators more control over the rates workers pay for workers’ comp. The Insurance Department could also mandate a refund to consumers if an insurer charges excessive rates. According to the 2016 Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary, Illinois workers’ comp rates are the eighth highest in the country. The state’s rates came in at 121 percent of the national median. Some type of overhaul seems likely for the Illinois workers’ compensation system. Regardless of what changes may occur, a Crystal Lake worker compensation attorney can advise injured parties of their rights and options.