legislative session has brought a few modifications to the Missouri Workers'
Compensation Law. While HB 1763, which proposed to make changes to the laws
regarding workers’ compensation large deductible policies issued by an insurer,
was vetoed by Gov. Nixon, there are two Senate bills which will become
effective on August 28, 2016.
First, SB 700 exempts volunteers of
qualified tax-exempt veterans’ organizations from workers’ compensation laws.
Next, both SB 700 and SB 613 will allow volunteer fire protection associations
to apply to the State Fire Marshall for grants for the purpose of funding the Workers’
Compensation insurance premiums for the association's volunteer firefighters.
Grants shall be disbursed by the Marshall based upon the number of volunteer
firefighters who receive workers’ compensation benefits from claims arising out
of and in the course of the prevention or control of fire or the underwater
recovery of drowning victims in the preceding calendar year.
The schedule is as
Finally, these two bills will modify the metrics under
which an employer is exempted from the NCCI experience
modification. In short, the
NCCI experience modification rating (EMR) is a calculation of the potential
risk an individual company has and is used in premium underwriting. In
the current statutory scheme, the employer’s EMR will not be adjusted if the
total medical cost for the injury does not exceed $1,000, the employer pays all
the medical costs, there is no lost time from the employment (other than the
first three days or less of disability), and no Claim is filed. Under these two
bills, EMR will not be adjusted if the total medical cost does not exceed 20%
of the current “split point” of primary and excess losses under the uniform
experience rating plan, as well as the additional factors named above.
change with regard to the EMR is important because it increases the amount an
employer can self-pay on a medical only claim without it counting towards its EMR.
For example, the previous limit was $1,000. When the modification to the law becomes
effective on August 28, 2016, since the “split point” has increased over the
years to a current level of $16,000, an employer can self-pay a medical only
claim up to $3200, or 20% of $16,000, without it affecting the employer’s EMR.
It is most likely that this new provision will apply only to injuries which
occur after August 28, 2016 since it appears to be substantive change in the
both Senate Bills add a provision which state that for the purposes of
calculating the premium credit under Missouri’s contracting classifications
premium adjustment program, employers to which the program applies now have the
option of submitting any of the prior year’s calendar quarterly payroll information
as long as the employer specifies which quarter is being used.
these changes benefit employers?
several of these amendments are very limited in their application, the
provision involving the self-pay medical option should be a positive change for
those employers which chose to pay medical only cases since the higher limit
will cover more injuries without leading to an increase in premiums. Note though
that the employer’s reliance on this provision does not affect the employer’s
obligation to report the injury under Sec. 287.380.1.
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