Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed a package of workers’ compensation reforms into law during a signing ceremony in his Dover office Thursday afternoon.
The reform measures come out of the recommendations of the Workers’ Compensation Task Force created by Markell and headed up by Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn. That group was formed to address the wild roller coaster of fluctuations in workers’ compensation premiums in recent years. The past two years have seen dramatic increases, while the four previous years saw premiums drop by a total of 40 percent.
“This bill represents another important step to ensuring we make our state an attractive location for companies,” said Markell. “Rising premiums weren’t only unfair, but they also take away from other investments businesses can make in expanding and hiring Delawareans.”
Under the bill, insurance carriers’ requests for rate increases will get a higher level of scrutiny. It also places tighter controls on workers’ compensation medical costs. There’s now a two-year inflation freeze on the fees paid for medical treatment of workers’ compensation recipients.
Markell and others praised Lt. Gov. Denn for his leadership on the issue, but Denn says the work is not over. “We will continue to look at other areas where we can control costs without impacting the quality of medical care recieved by injured workers.”
The reform bill, House Bill 175, was approved on a 21-0 vote in the Senate on June 19. It passed the House on June 6 with 39 ‘yes’ votes, two representatives were absent.