Don’t step in the FUD

How more part-time employees are losing health care benefits and the cost of workers’ compensation insurance.

Business Insurance looks at whether uninsured part-time employees will cause a spike in workers’ compensation claims. This comes after Wal-Mart’s decision to stop providing group health benefits to employees who work less than 30 hours per week.

Wal-Mart has attributed its decision to rising health care costs and it will affect nearly 30,000 people. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has also been blamed for increased part-time hiring.

Less safety training for part-time employees is a major reason why workers’ compensation claims could increase. Employees without group health insurance may also attempt to use workers’ compensation as their primary source of health care. Some cynical individuals have suggested that employee “bitterness” will cause more fraudulent claims.

Our 2 cents

We think much of this discussion is simply fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). A tactic used to influence public perception by disseminating negative or false information. It is propaganda of the worst kind and it masks the real issue of uninsured employees.

Michigan has seen double digit reductions in the workers’ compensation pure premium rate over the last three years. The number of new workers’ compensation cases has also sharply declined.

The bigger problem is not enough workers’ compensation claims are being made. A 2012 study from the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine showed almost 80% of work injury costs are actually shifted to employees and their families, non–workers’ compensation insurance carriers, and governments. This results in higher group health insurance premiums and more taxes.

It has also been projected that Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act will help over 300,000 uninsured Michigan residents during the first 12 months. Medicaid expansion allows these individuals to obtain medical evidence that their conditions are indeed work-related. This will force employers to pay valid claims and opens the door for reimbursement to the state.

Ringing alarm bells about higher workers’ compensation costs is just FUD. The real problems are that part-time employees are not getting health care and employers are shifting the cost of workers’ compensation to other payers.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, 401(K) 2013.

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