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House bill 296: a positive or negative move?

Injuries and medical complications that arise from working conditions are not only limited to the construction and oil industries; many can occur in typical, day-to-day desk jobs. One issue in Kentucky, as well as in other parts of America, involves the financial aspects of workers' compensation.

For years, most of the country has grappled with workers' compensation fraud, the statute of limitations regarding injuries and the general surge in rates of insurance premiums. Recently, Kentucky has seen shifts in the ways lawmakers are handling workers' compensation, but those changes would not necessarily improve compensation procedures for workers. 

The New Bill

In February 2017, lawmakers reconsidered the status of workers' compensation in Kentucky. An article in the Lane Report elaborates on this reconsideration, stating that lawmakers claimed the current compensation system is outdated and is in need of improving. Furthermore, the new bill would allow Kentucky to attain the notable status of central manufacturing hub in the country. Among the changes that House Bill 296 would impose are the improved clarification of claims limitations, proactive acknowledgement of the state's opioid crisis and opportunities for employers to bring workers back to work quickly.

The Costs

While some aspects of the proposed bill on workers' compensation certainly seem positive, the bill would also potentially bring a number of complications to the working world. The Lexington Herald Leader focuses in on the advantages and disadvantages of House Bill 296, stating that, although the bill would prevent individuals from manipulating the system, it also does little for current workers. The Leader points out that there has been no increase in workers' benefits since 2000. In contrast, Kentucky Employers' Mutual Insurance has seen a steady growth since 2004. While the issue of compensation fraud are apparent, lawmakers are also debating the growing financial imbalance between insurance companies and workers themselves.       



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