Significant Changes to Construction Dual-Wage Classifications

| posted in Uncategorized

As inflation drives up salaries in all sectors, the workers’ compensation wage thresholds for construction dual class codes in California have increased as of Sept. 1, 2022. State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara in July approved the recommendation by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau to increase the wage thresholds for high-wage workers. The new rates apply to workers’ comp policies incepting on or after Sept. 1. In these dual class codes, workers’ compensation rates are different for workers above and below the wage threshold. Rates are lower for workers whose hourly pay is above the threshold as statistics have shown…
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The Story Behind Increasing Commercial Auto Rates

| posted in Newsletter

Commercial auto insurance rates have been on the rise since 2011, increasing often by more than 10% a year as accidents and claims costs have soared. The trucking industry has been the hardest hit by the steep increases, and there are a number of factors contributing to the rate hikes, according to a recent study by Risk Placement Services. One of the biggest factors is that insurers have had trouble keeping up with increasing accidents and spiraling claims costs, leaving them in the red for most of the past decade. Huge court verdicts, higher maintenance expenses, reduced freight demand and…
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Push to Expand Telemedicine Parity Continues

| posted in Newsletter

Telemedicine got a big boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now a number of states have been moving to ensure that health plan enrollees still have access to it and pay for it just as they would in-person visits. During the pandemic, insurers agreed to pay for virtual visits just as they would for a face-to-face appointment and lawmakers loosened federal regulations that for years had restricted telemedicine’s use. Meanwhile, doctors who had been reluctant to try new technology embraced it as a way to limit patient exposure. But more than two years into a public health emergency, some health…
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New Premium Threshold Set for X-Mod Qualification

| posted in Newsletter

Employers whose annual premiums exceed $9,200 need to start paying closer attention to their workers’ compensation policies and safety practices. Under California’s workers’ compensation system rules, starting Sept. 1, if your firm’s premiums exceed this new threshold, it will be issued what’s known as an “X-Mod,” a numerical of your claims history. Your X-Mod is an important part of your coverage as it can dictate whether you pay lower or higher premiums based on your safety record compared to your peers in the same industry. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara in late June approved a recommendation by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance…
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Time to Comply with Health Plan Transparency Rules

| posted in Newsletter

July 1 was the deadline for health plans to make public their in-network negotiated rates, out-of-network billed charges, and more. While health plans will be required to post this information, employers who sponsor their group health insurance for their employees will need to take steps to ensure that their plans comply with the law, if they have not already done so. The transparency rules taking effect were ushered in by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and rulemaking from the 2020 Transparency in Coverage Rules by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The rules require that non-grandfathered insured and…
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Many Employees Choosing the Wrong Health Plans

| posted in Newsletter

A new study  has found that many people in employer-sponsored health plans are enrolling in plans that are costing them more than they ought to be paying. Many employees choose pricey plans with low deductibles, which force them to spend more up front on premiums to save just a few hundred dollars on their deductible. As result, many employees are spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more on their health care/health coverage than they need to. Study 1: The deductible angle A study by Benjamin Handel, a U.C. Berkeley economics professor, found that the majority of employees at one…
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Disability Insurance Can Protect Your Retirement Funds

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Disability insurance can help keep your cash flow going should you be hit by a disabling event such as an injury or a sudden illness that prevents you from working. But besides protecting your income, disability insurance can also safeguard your retirement goals by giving you much-needed cash that may keep you from tapping your 401(k) for emergency funds. Having to withdraw funds from your 401(k) can be costly due to the lost prospects of investment income, as well as tax penalties that you’ll be hit with. Think you wouldn’t do that? One in four consumers said they would make…
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Dental and Vision Benefits Are Inexpensive, and a Big Hit with Workers

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Employers nationwide are looking for ways to attract and retain talent and differentiate themselves from competing employers, and many are looking to the two most popular voluntary benefits: employee dental and vision plans. That’s important in today’s tight job market. After all, a recent survey from CareerBuilder found that 55% of workers believed an employer’s menu of benefits was more important than salary when considering a job position or offer. Here’s why dental and vision benefits are so popular and why, if you don’t already do so, you should consider offering them as well. Background For many years, dental and vision plans were…
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Reporting Workers’ Comp Claims Late Can Push up Costs Nearly 50%

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

One of the keys to keeping the costs of a workers’ compensation claim from spiraling out of control is prompt claims reporting. Claims are routinely filed late, either by the injured worker who fails to report it to the employer, or the employer dawdling or procrastinating and not reporting the claim to its insurer. Either way, those delays result in delays in treatment, which can exacerbate the injury, leading to additional medical care and higher costs. In fact, a 2015 study by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) found that the average claims for workplace injuries that were reported…
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Cal/OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Cal/OSHA has once again extended its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards, which cover employers’ obligations to protect their workers against the coronavirus. This is the third time the ETS has been extended and this one is slated to expire at the end of 2022. It’s being introduced as Cal/OSHA finalizes work on its permanent infectious disease standard. While the extended ETS includes many of the same provisions as the previous version, there are some changes. The new ETS, which took effect May 6, was written to be more flexible in response to when the California Department of Public Health updates its…
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