Changes in Workers Compensation: What It Means to Illinois

Mark Denzler
Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
•Wisconsin passed the first WC law in 1911.
•Illinois followed suit and passed law in 1912
•Based on “Prussian System” developed in 1871 by
Otto Von Bismark in which state-administered system
is the exclusive remedy for injured workers
Costly and burdensome to employers
Tilted toward injured workers
Makes Illinois less competitive
•Petitioners and Respondents
•Arbitrators (judges)
•Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commissioners
Pay work-related medical bills
2. Weekly wage payments while off work
3. Settlement based on permanency of injury
Employer community offered SB 1549
(Sen. Kyle McCarter)
Failed to pass Senate – 25 votes
1. Primary Cause
2. AMA Standards
3. Utilization Review
4. Medical Fee Schedule
5. Drugs & Alcohol
6. Wage Differential
7. Physician Networks/Doctor Choice
Rep. Bradley and Sen. Raoul threatened “blow
up” bill that passed the House and a Senate
Imposed a proximate cause standard into state
statute for the first time in history
Did not get primary cause language
AMA Standards must be used by both arbitrators and
doctors for first time in IL history
AMA standards used in 34 states
Exemptions for age, occupation, future earnings, and
conflicting medical reports
Strengthened utilization review is applicable to all
HC providers
Retrospective and prospective
HC provider participation is mandatory
Medical Fee Schedule reduced by 30 percent
across the board.
Illinois will continue to have the 2nd highest MFS
in the United States
Drug & alcohol presumption reversed.
Under new law, drugs and alcohol will be
presumed to have caused the accident.
Wage differential payments capped at the age of
67, or 5 years, whichever is later.
Previously, wage differential payments continued
for life
Employers/insurers allowed to create physician
networks and negotiate rates
Injured workers limited to 2 choices – only 1
choice if they refuse to use the employer’s doctor
Cap on carpal tunnel awards at 26 weeks – today’s
average is 40 weeks.
Cap on medical implants and devices
Replacement of arbitrators. New continuing
education and ethics requirements.
Panels of arbitrators, rotated.
New fraud powers and penalties
Special Assistant AG for WC Fraud
Supporters of Final
WC Bill
Chicagoland Chamber
City of Chicago
Cook County
Metro Counties
Southland Chamber
IL Business Roundtable
IL Trucking Association
Car Dealers Association
IL Municipal League
United Airlines
IL Restaurant Association
IL Hotel & Motel
 IL Renewable Fuels Assn.
 Commonwealth Edison
Other HC providers
* Unions/Trial Lawyers were neutral
NCCI has already issued an advisory recommending an 8.8
percent cut in rates on September 1, 2011.
Does not include savings for PPO networks, UR and some
other provisions
$300 million reduction for insured entities
Does not include savings for self-insured entities

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