PRESS RELEASE: LETTER TO EDITOR
Governor Rauner, on August 18, 2017, vetoed House Bill 2622, which was designed to help small businesses reduce workers’ compensation insurance premiums. HB 2622 would have created a not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company charter by the State of Illinois. Governor Rauner’s reasons for the veto of HB 2622 were released as follows:
Governor Rauner has missed an opportunity to help small businesses reduce workers’ compensation premiums as follows. Historically, in 2011, Governor Quinn and the State Legislator passed workers’ compensation amendments, which would substantially reduce benefits to employees and reimbursement rates to medical providers for work-related injuries. The NCCI has now recommended over a 30% reduction in workers’ compensation insurance premiums in the State of Illinois, which has gone unrealized because the workers’ compensation insurance industry has continued to raise premiums to increase their profit margins and have not passed on any of the benefits of the 2011 changes to small businesses.
HB 2622 would have leveled the playing field by creating a not-for-profit workers’ compensation fund to provide workers’ compensation insurance at a fair and reasonable rate to small businesses and provide needed competition to the over 300 workers’ compensation insurance carrier who have failed to pass savings from the 2011 changes as encouraged by the NCCI ratings organization.
Governor Rauner’s reasoning is flawed. Specifically, in the last ten years, the filings at the IWCC for work-related injuries have dropped from roughly 75,000 claims to 38,000 claims per year. As a regular practitioner before the IWCC, I can indicate that there is no current backlog of cases currently pending. The IWCC currently has 30 arbitrators and 9 commissioners to adjudicate workers’ compensation claims. Ten years ago, the Commission operated with roughly 25 arbitrators and 6 commissioners for roughly 75,000 claims per year and operated efficiently.
Governor Rauner’s veto of HB 2622 does nothing more than protecting bloated insurance companies’ bottom line profit margins.
This veto demonstrates that Governor Rauner is more interested in helping large insurance companies than small businesses and employees. This Bill would not have impacted any self-insured companies like Caterpillar, our hospital employers, or Government employees.