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Statewide Organizations Agree 74% of Workers’ Compensation Costs from Medical Charges Unacceptable

ANCHORAGE, Alaska  - Skyrocketing costs of medical care in Alaska’s workers’ compensation system have triggered statewide support for developing new laws to contain them, announced the Workers’ Compensation Committee of Alaska (WCCA).

On September 27, 2013, the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board’s (AWCB) unanimously passed Resolution 13-01.  Resolution 13-01 formally requests the Alaska State Legislature make meaningful changes to Alaska law in order to contain out-of-control medical costs in the system. On October 11th, the Alaska Chamber put such legislation among its top priorities for the coming legislative session. “It is fantastic to see others join in our fight to help reduce the cost of workers’ compensation costs in Alaska!” said Chuck Brady, WCCA board chair, “these costs have been crippling for many small businesses across our state.”

Insurance premiums paid by Alaska employers are the highest in the nation. Medical costs have risen 25% over the last 5 years despite a 14.2% decline in claims by injured workers. Medical costs now account for 74 cents of every dollar spent for the benefit of employees with on-the-job injuries and are increasing. Nationally based research shows the inappropriate use of opiate narcotics has become an epidemic damaging lives and driving up costs. Vocational rehabilitation related benefits cost employers $12.9 million in calendar year 2012 but fewer than 8% of eligible injured workers completing retraining.

“It will take a concerted continued effort by not only the Alaska Chamber, AWCB and WCCA but by every person working in the state to explain to legislators how workers’ compensation costs are hurting our employers and not allowing for other employee benefits.” said Brady. Employers and others interested in the potential up-coming legislation may contact WCCA at workerscompcommitteeofalaska@gmail.com to receive additional information.

Workers Compensation Committee of Alaska is a statewide group of employers dedicated to a fair, just and affordable workers’ compensation system in Alaska. To do this we promote employers’ continued education and understanding of Alaska’s workers’ compensation laws and regulations, review current workers’ compensation laws and advocate changes that will reduce the cost of insurance to employers while improving delivery of benefits to employees, and liaise between Alaska employers and various governmental and nongovernmental agencies. www.wccak.org

 

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