Five Things You Need to Know: 7/18, Wednesday Edition


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1) CO: Husband Killed in Ski Lift Accident; Wife to Receive Half of Benefits Because He Tested Positive for Marijuana 

Erika Lee, wife of deceased husband Adam Lee, will only receive half of his workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace ski lift accident, according to an Associated Press article (KMGH-TV), featured in the Denver Post. The reason why: He tested positive for marijuana post-accident. The 50 percent cut is state-sanctioned, and includes any controlled substances. “…Erika plans to appeal the decision by Pinnacol Assurance, a quasi-state workers’ compensation agency, to cut her benefits. A hearing is scheduled before an administrative law judge in the coming months,” per the article.

2) NY: Reduced Comp Costs Could Lead to More than $1B in Savings

“The Business Council of New York State Inc. has touted the newly approved 11.7 percent reduction in loss cost rates, which are the basis for setting workers’ compensation premiums for 2019, as being significant toward workers’ compensation savings for most New York employers next year,” according to Insurance Journal. The state’s work comp system could see more than $1B in work comp cost savings, per a council press release. The state is also looking into adoption of a formulary.

3) New Survey Looks at Big Cost Decreases in Comp

CompPharma’s 15th Annual Survey of Prescription Drug Management in Work Comp has come to some interesting data and conclusions, according to Claims Journal. One of them being: “Pharmacy costs in workers’ compensation have decreased by $1.1 billion during the past eight years…” 29 work comp industry members participated in the survey. “…Twelve of the respondents credited clinical programs for the decrease while eight cited fewer opioid prescriptions,” per the article.

4) Next Hot Seat Webinar Topic Announced's next Hot Seat Webinar hot topic has been announced, “Impairing the Guides: The Legal Assault on the 6thEdition.” More details will be available soon. The end of June marked another Hot Seat webinar for the books, entitled “Rise of the Millennials: Passing of the Baton.” Moderators included President and CEO Bob Wilson and Deputy Chief Judge, Florida Office of the Judge of Compensation Claims David Langham. Panelists included Senior Editor of Premium Media (and Millennial) Dara Barney and Insurance Services Office, Inc. Director and Division Head Alfred Faber. Lively discussion topics included a need to “walk the walk” in the industry, vs. just “talking the talk,” and the different challenges each generation has encountered/will encounter in both the workplace, and work comp atmosphere. A replay of the session is available here.

5) WV: Three Plaintiffs Allege Age Discrimination in Recent Employment Lawsuit

Pamela Boyden, Larry English and Irma Jean Cook, former staff of the Raleigh County Community Action Association, allege that part of why they were fired had to do with their age, writes Philip Gonzales of the West Virginia Record. “…According to the complaint, the plaintiffs were employed by the defendant for more than two decades and are all older than 60. They allege that, despite performing their duties in a satisfactory manner, they were terminated by the defendant on May 2017. They allege they were the only individuals whose positions were eliminated and that the defendant hired younger individuals to perform the same job duties,” per the article. “…The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek compensatory and punitive damages, prejudgment interest, attorney's fees, costs and such other just and proper relief.”

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