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California governor signs workers' compensation reform

California's governor recently signed a bill that could bring greater protections to injured workers. The workers' compensation reform is touted as a way to save money for businesses and stop "skyrocketing rates" that could have potentially affected both employees and employers. The governor's office claims the new reform would reverse several years of rising rates and could save the state $40 million.

Although the bill has many proponents, critics wonder whether it will actually save any money for workers' compensation payers and when the savings would start. Insurers believe the reform could actually increase costs that business are required to pay or not reduce their overall costs. Only time will tell how the reform will benefit or hinder workers and businesses.

Some of the key points in the bill include a revision of the minimum and maximum permanent disability payments. The 15 percent disability bump incentives are now gone, and it also calls for a third party to handle any disputes arising over medical bills. Under the reform, a $6,000 voucher for workers with a qualifying permanent disability that occurs in or after January of next year will be handed out.

The California workers' compensation reform is said to be a cost-saving measure to both employees and employers. While not everyone agrees, there are some measures within the legislation that could benefit workers. However, it is important to note that workers who run into issues with their workers' compensation still have the right to seek outside representation, especially if they feel they are not receiving what they are entitled to by law.

Source: Risk & Insurance Online, "California: Reform bill signed into law; CWCI breaks down main parts," Oct. 1, 2012

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