Addressing High Workers Comp Fees in Alaska

Alaska workers’ compensation rates are among the highest in the nation, citing the high price of Alaska’s medical costs as a major contributor.


According to a study published in August of 2011 by the Institute of Social and Economic Research, health care spending for Alaskans in 2010 reached $7.5 billion, nearly half of the wellhead value of all the oil produced in Alaska that year.


Director of the Workers’ Compensation Board, Mike Monagle said that businesses in Alaska pay more for workers’ comp insurance than any other state. We asked him what he thinks House Bill 141 and other legislative bills can do to help.


Monagle: “The administration is concerned obviously that our workers’ comp premium rates are as high as they are and certainly would like to see reform to see what we can do to get those rates lowered. But the administration’s position is that any reform needs to be sort of a comprehensive effort.” 


Currently, HB 141 fixes certain workers’ compensation billing issues for individuals who receive treatment out of state, therefore not paying out to other states at Alaska’s high rates.


We also spoke with Chief Executive Officer Rick Davis from the Central Peninsula Hospital about what upcoming legislation on Workers’ compensations could mean.


Davis: “As an employer with over 650 full-time equivalent employees, our work comp costs are meaningful to us too so we support an effort to try to do something about the high work comp fee schedule. The flip side of that is that as a provider we do get paid based on that work comp fee schedule so it would be a little bit of a two edged sword to see the fee schedule drop. Having said that we do support an adjustment in the work comp fee schedule.” 


HB 141 has been moved to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee for further review after it passed unanimously through the House.

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