CHICAGO - Today the Legislature passed worker compensation legislation HB 2525, which addresses rate regulation and makes other changes, and HB 2622, which would loan funds from the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission Operations Fund for the start-up and initial capitalization of the Illinois Employers Mutual Insurance Company (State Fund) as a nonprofit, quasi-independent public corporation. The following statement regarding these bills can be attributed to Jeffrey Junkas, assistant vice president state government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI)
“Rather than advancing real reforms to Illinois’ costly workers compensation system, today’s votes on HB 2525 and 2622 could have profound negative consequences for injured workers, the business community and all consumers in the state.
“These bills will do nothing to control costs. They do nothing to help injured workers from addiction to overprescribed, expensive drugs. They do nothing but set Illinois back in time via a 1960’s style burdensome regulatory price control scheme and force the broke state to spend significant resources to carry out the rate regulation mandate. Additionally, millions of private market dollars would be grabbed by the state from the Workers Compensation Commission Operations Fund to create a government-sponsored state workers compensation fund that would attempt to compete with private insurers. The funding does not take into account the long-term costs associated with workers compensation claims. Employers and tax payers would be on the hook to continue to provide subsidies to this fund. The fund would be a creature of statute, controlled and influenced by public authorities.
“A massive government intrusion in the workers compensation system is not only ill-conceived, but unnecessary as Illinois already has a very competitive workers compensation market with over 300 companies offering coverage.
“The focus of reform should be on helping injured workers get healthy and advancing changes that address underlying costs for Illinois businesses. Legislation such as HB 2525 and 2622 with debunked notions about insurance rate regulation simply shifts attention away from the real solutions needed to reform Illinois' workers compensation system.”