Changes to workers' compensation

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Governor Gregoire proposes improvements to workers' comp

Washington's "State Fund" is the 7th largest workers' compensation system in the nation and covers 2.3 million workers employed by 163,000 employers.

The system is fundamentally sound, but systemic trends many made worse by the recession drive up costs, and the state must act to protect employees and employers. In a system this size, opportunities exist to lower costs and reform unsustainable expenditures.

For example, one of every 19 time-loss claims becomes a lifetime pension — a rate that has doubled in the past 10 years. And lifetime pension claims comprise half of all workers compensation costs. This must change to create stability and predictability.

As a result of her workers compensation work group's recommendations, the Governor will propose legislative changes to:

  • Create a statewide medical provider network for both State Fund and self-insured employers. This network will save the state $160 million over four years, improve outcomes and better treat injured workers, and reduce business costs.
  • Help workers return to their jobs sooner after a workplace injury.
  • Modernize the benefits' structure.
  • Reduce pension costs.

These changes should reduce future rate increases, maintain the quality of care for injured workers and improve their outcomes, redirect benefits to those who most need them, and save an additional $560 million over the next four years.

Why propose changes?

This short video shows what is driving costs up and what L&I is doing to keep costs down.

Learn more

Q&A about the 2011 rate increase

Find answers to the most common questions about the rate increase.

2011 base rates by business type and classification code

Look up rates by the frequency and cost of claims in each industry.

L&I Cost Containment Summary

See how L&I is taking steps to rein in costs.

L&I response to the State Auditor's Report

A message about the financial health of worker's compensation in Washington State.

The history of rate changes in Washington state

See the 38-year history of changes to workers' compensation premiums in Washington state.

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