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WC Rates Could See Reprieve

June 6, 2018
12:35 PM

After a mid-year increase in workers’ compensation (WC) costs resulting from the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in the case of Protz v. WCAB, the House Labor and Industry Committee this week voted along party lines to pass legislation addressing the court’s decision.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) late last year approved the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau’s (PCRB) mid-year loss cost increase filing of +6.06 percent with an effective date of Feb. 1, 2018. This additional filing is the direct result of Protz v. WCAB.

In its decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a section of the Commonwealth’s 1996 Workers’ Compensation Act reforms, which allows employers to request Impairment Rating Evaluations (IREs) to assess an employee’s level of impairment and determine their disability status. The court ruled unconstitutional a method the Act currently provides for updates to the standards for evaluating a worker’s degree of impairment.

House Bill 1840, sponsored by House Labor and Industry Chair Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), addresses the issue identified in the Court's ruling by repealing the subsection invalidated by the court, and reenacting the language, clarifying the guidelines to be used for IREs.

IA&B supports this legislation and signed onto a letter along with over two dozen trade associations – spearheaded by the PA Chamber – urging House Labor and Industry Committee members to support the bill.

The bill now goes to the floor of the House for consideration by the full chamber.