Perspectives

Legislature 2017: Work Comp Bills

The 2017 Legislature is in session and MSF is paying close attention to the bills that impact our policyholders and their employees. We are now one-third of the way through the session, here is a quick look at a few of the bills of interest:

  • HB229—This bill would have undone the second largest cost saving provision of HB334 (2011), which accounted for 8.5% of the total 22% loss-cost reduction for employers across Montana. The provision gives the workers’ compensation insurer the ability to approve the injured worker’s choice or to designate a different treating physician on a claim. This acts as a cost containment device by allowing more timely and appropriate care for injured workers. MSF opposed the bill and it is currently tabled in committee.
  • SB116—This bill allows for the denial of benefits if an employee knowingly or willfully provides a false statement in an employer-provided questionnaire calling for the disclosure of an employee’s medical condition. SB116 is being billed a “safety bill” because the employer needs to know whether an employee can safely perform the essential functions of the job for their own protection and to protect others around them.  MSF stood as an informational witness and the bill passed the Senate; it is now pending in the House.
  • SB184—This bill allows for the termination of benefit payments based on fraud or mutual mistake of fact, or if the insurer receives clear and convincing information that the insurer was not liable for the compensation benefits. MSF supported the bill and it is currently pending before the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

In addition to these bills, MSF is monitoring dozens of additional pieces of legislation. As we near the transmittal deadline of March 1, approximately 30 other workers’ compensation bills remain.

For more information about Montana State Fund download our 2017 Guide to Workers’ Compensation  or call us at  800-332-6102.

 

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