Workers' comp surplus to be studied by legislative
"An attempt by legislators to increase premium rebates to
employers recently failed when worker advocates persuaded some lawmakers to
look into whether injured workers were getting sufficient compensation. . .
Employer and employee advocates are both seeking more analysis into the program
and details of the surplus."
Workers' comp to be studied by
By The Associated Press
CASPER - A
legislative interim committee is set to study Wyoming's workers' compensation
program, which has rebounded from a deficit in the 1980s to a cash reserve of
$925 million this year.
Worker advocates said the reserve was not the
result of overpayment by employers. Rather, they said the surplus was built on
money that should have been paid to injured workers but never was.
Tom Lubnau, a member of the Joint Interim Labor, Health and Social Services
Committee, said he wants to examine the structure of premiums and benefits to
determine if the program could sustain paying increased benefits to workers.
The committee will examine workers' comp this year.
"I'm always hesitant
to take short-term prosperity trends and extend those trends out into the
future without detailed analysis," said Lubnau, R-Gillette.
by legislators to increase premium rebates to employers recently failed when
worker advocates persuaded some lawmakers to look into whether injured workers
were getting sufficient compensation.
Pacific Actuarial Consulting
recently assessed the state's workers' comp system and suggested that the state
needs about $642 million to cover benefits and liabilities. The group said a
more conservative estimate of $848.7 million would be able to cover a major
Employer and employee advocates are both seeking
more analysis into the program and details of the surplus.
Scott, co-chair of the interim committee, said adjustments made by the
Legislature in the 1980s helped steer the workers' comp fund into the black,
but it took several years.
"The boom is going on now, and a lot more
businesses are paying in," said Scott, R-Casper.
Lawmakers said they're
also interested in studying the program because they don't want to jeopardize
its self-supportive status.
"We've got to look at the demographics of
our workers, and what types of losses we anticipate in the future," Lubnau