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Workers’ Comp Rate Could Go Up Again

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Healthwatch

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – Workers’ comp insurers are seeking a one percent increase, meaning employers across the state of Florida could have to pay more for their workers’ compensation insurance.

If state regulators approve the rate hike, it would go into effect January 1st and would be the fourth straight year that employers have to pay more for workers’ comp.

The 1 percent increase is for the insurance that employers purchase to cover on-the-job injuries. The main cause for the increase is that medical costs are outpacing declines in other expenses.

Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty’s office stressed that even if the hike is granted, workers’ compensation rates will still have dropped by nearly 56 percent from where they were a decade ago.

In 2003, the Legislature passed a law aimed at reducing rates through provisions that include a limit on fees paid to lawyers for injured workers.

Earlier this year, state legislators passed a measure that capped how much doctors can get paid for prescribing certain drugs used by injured workers.

McCarty’s office said that savings from the drug rate cap took effect this summer and that those savings are reflected in the rate hike proposal.

This year’s proposed 1 percent increase is much smaller than those proposed for the past two years.

But in a news release, the Office of Insurance Regulation said it would propose legislation for the 2014 session that would attempt to lower costs even further.

The rate hike proposal was submitted this week by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The council is a rating and data collection agency owned by insurance companies. It submits rate filings on their behalf.

A public hearing will be held on the proposal in October.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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