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Workers' compensation in Wisconsin could face big changes

The Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Advisory Council recently approved a standard that is meant to parallel the market cost of health care to that of workers' compensation prices. The change is meant to reign in the quickly expanding costs of workers' compensation health care and place a cap on what was previously unlimited. A worker who has been injured while on the job may feel pressure to collect his or her benefits before the potential treatment is limited.

A recent study by the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau found that -- last year -- the cost of workers' compensation was five times higher than that of Medicare. In addition, the state's workers' compensation payout allowance was discovered to be twice as high as other states in an analysis completed by the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance. Because physicians are not limited in what they can or cannot charge the state for workers' compensation treatments, the WCAC reports they have been attempting to enforce a solution for some time.

The decision recently presented by the WCAC would mirror the standard physician market fees averaged from five surrounding areas in Wisconsin, with an additional 10 percent added on. The Consumer Price Index was used as a reference for the fee standards, and inflation necessities were taken into account. If this presented system is approved by Wisconsin legislature, then changes to the workers' compensation system would become legally binding.

Suffering an injury at work can be intimidating and confusing for a worker who is in need of treatment or rehabilitation. As the Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Advisory Council continues to move forward with changes, potential accessibility to certain care may become limited. An employee who is seeking workers' compensation for an injury may choose to pursue professional help in ensuring they receive the rightful treatment to which they are entitled.

Source: news.heartland.org, Wisconsin Council Okays Workers Comp Cost-Containment Plan, No author, Dec. 16, 2013

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