Workers’ Compensation Agency (WCA) gets its quarterly MiScorecard and it once again shows misplaced priorities.
Governor Rick Snyder created Michigan Dashboard to provide a quick assessment of state government. It is supposed to show progress and areas for improvement.
We think Michigan Dashboard fails entirely when it comes to workers’ compensation. Here are the 4 metrics used and why it shows misplaced priorities.
Metric 1: Cost Per Claim
This metric shows 11.5% growth over a 4 year period. This is down from 12% growth. The WCA gets a passing grade (green) because it is less than the target of 25% growth.
Many of our clients are finding their claims disputed because of reforms signed by Governor Snyder in 2011. Medical treatment is denied based upon incidental findings of arthritis and proving a case has become much harder. Insurance companies are now permitted to use “wage earning capacity” to say a person can find another job. This has resulted in some individuals getting less than $20 per week despite having no other income. Any discussion about costs should also include whether the benefits are adequate.
Metric 2: Cost of Premium Ranking
The WCA gets a fair score (yellow) because it is currently ranked 34 lowest out of 50 states for cost of premium. Getting Michigan into the top 10 cheapest states is the target.
What it does not show is the pure premium rate has actually dropped 32.7% since 2011 resulting in savings of $327 million for businesses. According to a recent 18-state survey published by the WCRI, Michigan had the largest decrease in indemnity benefits/claim of all states in a 36-month period. We are in a race to the bottom.
Metric 3: Workers’ Compensation Agency
The WCA gets a failing grade (red) because it has not hit 50% for electronic data compliance filings. It currently sits at 26.5% of target. This metric has not changed in several years.
What it does not show is how much money has been budgeted for technology improvements. Governor Snyder should allocate more funds to the WCA and get serious about upgrades. How about permitting injured employees to file their own Application for Mediation or Hearing electronically?
Metric 4: Duration of Temporary Disability
The WCA receives a passing score (green) for reducing duration of disability from 17 to 16 weeks. The target is to get duration of weeks to just 15.
What it does not show is whether people are actually getting back to work. Just because an insurance company stops paying does not mean a person has actually returned to gainful employment.
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.