In the last edition of Hamilton Consulting’s Political Tidbits, we reported on the Joint Committee hearing on Worker’s Compensation. The proposed bill plans to establish cost controls in the system by implementing a fee schedule for medical costs by mid-year 2015.
Addressing issues seen in the bill, Senator Glen Grothman, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor, and Representative Dan Knodl, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor released a letter to provide commentary on one provision of the law. In the letter, the two legislators raise concerns over possible consequences of the legislation:
“[Current] law… requires an employer to maintain group health insurance coverage for the first 12 weeks during a period an employee takes medical leave under the conditions that applied immediately before the medical leave began.
Under this bill, small businesses would have an entirely new health care mandate not required under family medical leave law, beginning in week one, not week 13 of the temporary disability. Thus this bill has a disproportionate impact on small business.”
Wisconsin would join forty-four states other states with fee schedules that limit escalating medical costs of claims. However, while many states tie their fee schedule to Medicare, this proposal is a private, market-based solution. The council bill sets the fees to 10% ABOVE group health negotiated rates. With Wisconsin’s group health rates already higher than most other states, this fee schedule allows for payments well above most other worker’s compensation payments across the country.