On Tap WC Legislation

Nancy Grover

First responders, marijuana and single payer health insurance are the top workers’ compensation-related issues for state legislatures once again. According to NCCI, they are among the more than 500 proposals lawmakers are addressing.

First Responders
“First responder legislation was the top trending issue in 2019,” the organization said in its recent legislative update. “NCCI tracked 126 bills related to first responders. The bills addressed compensability for certain cancers and other diseases, as well as workers compensation coverage for mental injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Nine states passed legislation addressing workers compensation coverage for first responders with mental-only injuries and one state passed a bill to study the issue.”

Nearly 100 bills on the subject are being monitored by NCCI this year, including 36 that address mental injuries.

Marijuana
Legislation that addresses payer reimbursement for medical marijuana among injured workers in Kentucky is among the proposals in 22 states NCCI is tracking. Last year several states considered the idea, with Rhode Island passing legislation that does not prohibit or require reimbursement.

Single Payer
Colorado, Oregon, and Vermont have passed legislation to study the idea of single payer health insurance. NCCI said it is tracking legislation in seven states this year.

“NCCI monitored more than 40 bills that either proposed implementing a single-payer health insurance system or studying the issue,’ the company said. “Several states considered legislation that specifically referenced workers compensation or medical benefits for injured workers.”

Independent Contractors
Ten states are looking at proposals regarding contractor legislation. Among them are California, Illinois, Missouri, New York and Virginia.

“Last year, NCCI monitored about 45 bills that address independent contractors and the classification of employees,” the update said. “California passed AB 5, which adopted a three-part test for determining whether workers are employees or independent contractors, and Arkansas enacted legislation that codified a 20-factor test from an IRS ruling to determine whether workers are employees or independent contractors.”

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