Minnesota employees may have heard that in 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor had recommended revamping the workers’ compensation system around the country. However, with the fact that the Trump presidency wants to reduce government involvement, those plans will likely be delayed. Some have even speculated that the system could be significantly impacted if the Affordable Care Act is repealed or replaced.

These speculations were made by two workers’ compensation industry experts. In January, they began speaking about 20 issues to watch in workers’ compensation during 2017. One of them, a health adviser, said that when the ACA was introduced, it led to a large amount of health insurers dropping out of the marketplace, which then caused health insurance costs to rise while competition declined. It was noted that in 2013, workers’ compensation was beginning to produce underwriting profits, leading to more competition and rates going down. These circumstances will likely have a negative impact as combined ratios of 100 percent are anticipated for 2017.

It was further noted that OSHA concentrated more on enforcement of its policies instead of education throughout the Obama administration. However, under the Trump administration, this may change. Likewise, there was more enforcement action under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act during the Obama presidency.

While workers’ compensation laws could change in some states during 2017, most employees who are injured in a workplace accident are entitled to file a claim under their company’s insurance coverage. They may want to meet with an attorney to see what types of benefits they might qualify for.

Source: Claims Journal, “Workers’ Comp Issues to Watch in 2017”, Denise Johnson, Feb. 1, 2017