In the state of New York, workers’ compensation rates are scheduled to decrease, resulting in businesses being able to save as much as $400 million or more, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. This will certainly be a relief to companies but will adversely affect workers who suffer an injury or illness while on the job as the premiums will most likely decrease by 4.5 percent later this year.
When Would the New Workers’ Compensation Rates Go Into Effect?
On Monday, May 15, 2017, the governor’s office made a statement that explained that the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board (CIRB) submitted the decrease in workers’ compensation rates. This is set to take place starting Sunday, October 1. The CIRB claims that the reduction in premium rates was passed as part of the budget for 2018.
Governor Cuomo stated that the reforms to the workers’ compensation system would help businesses in New York to cut costs and allow them to create more jobs throughout the state. In addition, he believes that the move will make companies more competitive and strengthen protections for workers injured on the job across New York.
However, the new rates still have to be reviewed by the Department of Financial Services. If they are approved, the workers’ compensation rate cut will become effective as of October 1, 2017.
How Were the New Rates Determined?
According to New York State Majority Leader John J. Flanagan, workers’ compensation reforms were discussed earlier in the year as part of budget negotiations. Premium rates are determined annually and consider recent claims and new policies. In particular, the 2018 New York Budget tackles the issue of limiting the cost of temporary disability payments to permanency.
According to Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Board Kenneth J. Munnelly, both Governor Cuomo and the Legislature have been successful in re-balancing the system to ensure relief to New York businesses and deliver better protections for workers injured on the job.
How Will the New Rates Protect Injured Workers?
The newly proposed budget is said to offer better protections for injured workers with the following:
- Expansion of the safety net for workers who are seriously injured, thus making more people eligible to apply for reconsideration for lifetime benefits at the time when their benefit cap is close to expiration
- Making sure that workers who are injured and out of work but not receiving benefits are able to get a hearing within 45 days
- First responders who are exposed to high stress in emergency situations will be given relief
- Strengthening all administrative tools the Board has so that it can more effectively and swiftly provide an appropriate delivery of benefits to workers who are injured
The new budget also requires the Workers’ Comp Board to make public guidelines on permanent impairment so that it reflects advances in modern medicine so there can be better outcomes. The Board will also establish a formula on prescription drugs so that injured workers can get quality medications that are affordable.
According to Cuomo’s office, the reforms are to continue to build upon the mayor’s commitment to improving the workers’ compensation system in the state so that the needs of injured workers can overall be more effectively served.
Finally, the Workers’ Compensation Board is also developing new procedures that are meant to ensure benefits are delivered in a more timely fashion while using new means to settle any disputes. This is in place so that the Board can more effectively use its time in settling complex legal issues.
Learn more about Workers’ Compensation.