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November 3, 1999

Department proposes changes to workers' compensation refund program

TUMWATER -- The Department of Labor & Industries today proposed changes to its retrospective rating program, which allows qualified employers to earn refunds on their workers' compensation insurance premiums.

A public hearing has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 14 in the L&I auditorium, 7273 Linderson Way S.W., Tumwater.

Major proposed changes include:

  • Sponsoring organizations in the program must distribute at least 90 percent of a refund to participating employers. Currently, there is no such requirement.
  • A provision to increase the number of mandatory annual adjustments from two to four.
  • Disqualification of a participating group if it fails to file an annual report on its methods to improve workplace safety. Currently, there is no requirement for this report.
  • Prohibition of direct payment of medical bills by an employer or sponsoring organization for medical services provided to an injured worker.

Retrospective rating is a workers' compensation insurance option that L&I offers to qualified employers and associations. The program is designed to improve workplace safety and accident prevention for participants. More than 15,000 employers currently participate.

Employers and members of groups that meet goals for reduced claims from injured workers can earn premium refunds. Since its inception in 1981, the program has refunded more than $800 million to participants.

For more information about the proposed changes, contact:

Frank Romero
Retrospective Rating Program
PO Box 44180
Olympia, WA 98504-4180
360-902-4835

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