Out of Control Policy Blog

West Virginia's Privatized Workers Comp Insurance System Turns One

It's been a year since the privatization of West Virginia's workers compensation system was fully completed, and Insurance Journal reports on the many successes thus far with the initiative:

West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane L. Cline says her state's one-year old privatized workers' compensation system is offering better claims administration, lower costs for employers and better treatment of injured workers.

In 2005, the state approved the privatization of the state fund, which had been the sole workers' compensation provider. The new private carrier, BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co., opened its doors on Jan. 1, 2006, and it remained the sole provider until the market opened for competition on July 1, 2008.

During the transition, Cline's office assumed the role of administrator of the claims of the state's old fund that occurred before July 1, 2005. Cline says that the old fund was "saturated with fraud by providers, employers and employees."

Since the switch, Cline says that claims handling has improved such that:

• claim protests have fallen 68 percent
• the overall appeals process has been streamlined resulting in claims disputes being resolved in a shorter period of time
• claimants have received better claim management by claims adjusters having fewer claims to manage, and
• the unfunded liability on "old fund" claims has dropped from $3.1 billion to $1.5 billion.

The open workers' compensation market, which celebrated its first anniversary July 1, is also performing well, according to Cline. As of June 30, 2009:

• Overall premiums have dropped 30.3 percent, or more than $150 million
• 198 different workers' compensation insurance companies have filed rates and forms
• Of those 198 companies, 154 have active workers compensation policies in the voluntary market.
• There are 120 policies in the residual market representing premium of about $1.9 million
• More than 90 percent of all claims are ruled upon within the first 30 days

See my August 2008 blog post for last year's update.

» Reason's Privatization Research and Commentary

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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Comments to "West Virginia's Privatized Workers Comp Insurance System Turns One":

Raymond Frye | August 7, 2009, 2:16pm | #

I was injured in an explosion June 11 2001, First I had a gentleman handling my case and everything was going smooth then I was transferred to severely injured in which I was transferred to a woman named Catherine Moorehead from Concentra as my rehab person, I was going to rehab and when they told me to get into the hot tub I had a bad fall and couldn't move for a couple weeks, There was an accident form filled out. Catherine then came to my house telling me the papers we were filling out would speed up my claim, Quote: "this is because your authorization has run out, we need to get you re-authorized" Un-Quote, it did just the opposite, it turned out to be a form denying rehab, which was the last thing I wanted at 32 and 33. I have been fighting ever since. I have Seizures, PTSD, PTDS, RSD Complex Pain Syndrome, Radiculopathy, Bilateral Neuropathy, dislocated vertabre, ribs, and my discs are degenerating at those locations more rapidly because I can't get treatment and things are deteriorating because I can't get the help I need, I was awarded 13% on my left arm, during the exam the comp. office called and stated not to evaluate anything but my arm, but the Dr. put the lost of range of motion in my torso anyway, it's in the records, then here at the last of 2008 or the beginning of 2009 I recieved a letter stating there was going to be a decision on my claim and no other protest would be allowed! I was awarded my treatment, left arm, complex pain syndrome etc... then less than a month later the employer filed a protest and it was accepted, so everything was stripped from me again. This is how Brickstreet made a profit of 185,000,000 last year, because they are not providing treatment, I have 4 medications that I have to take one of which if I do not take I convulse where ever I'm at, How can I Privatize that??? When I never had seizures before I stood point blank of an explosion on a mine site that was not paying compensation, and Governor Manchin let them off easy, only having to pay back a fraction of the total but that is not the least of it. Take a look a MSHA records and see if you can find an accident report for June 11 2001 Elk Run Coal or R & E Electric IT WAS NEVER FILED! They even finished the job after I was taken away in the ambulance, without a safety team evaluation, IT WAS RUNNING THAT EVENING!!!!! Matter of fact the same fuses that caused the explosion were still the exact same in use 7 or more months after the explosion.
All Privatization has done is put the entire decision under one roof West Virginia Insurance Commission. I wrote to Governor Manchin and asked him to look into this he had his office contact the West Virginia Insurance Commision, they wrote me a letter with a records release form, so they could review my case. I decided to wait a few days just because I had been through this before, like I expected I recieved a letter from the West Virginia Insurance Commission Stating they had reviewed my records! What I would like to know is How did you get them in the first place without authorization, because the West Virginia Office Of Judges who make the decisions has the letter head of West Virginia Insurance Commision, Office Of Judges. Let me truthful, I am speaking while my wife types, that is how injured I am, my left arm was almost blown off and I was sent 40 to 50 feet away in a spin where my upper body couldn't keep up with my lower and they are making judgements on what I said under serious amounts of Morphine while they kept me stable for reconstructive surgery (they asked, does anything else hurt, I said I can't even feel anything, and that sealed my case, I was shot with Morphine 3 or 4 times before that was asked!)
So Sure they are doing GREAT but ask the injured workers that have been fighting them for years!!!!!!!!



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