Workers Compensation Law
CCS/HCS/SS#2/SCS/SB 1 – Modifies the law relating to the Second Injury Fund and occupational disease within the workers’ compensation system.
Stipulates that “employee” shall not include any person performing services for board, lodging, aid, or sustenance received from any religious, charitable or relief organization.
Affirmatively states that occupational diseases are exclusively covered under workers’ compensation laws.
Establishes psychological stress of paid peace officers of a police department as an occupational disease for the purposes of workers’ compensation.
Defines “occupational diseases due to toxic exposure” and creates an expanded benefit for occupational diseases due to toxic exposure including Mesothelioma. Employers who do not insure Mesothelioma liability shall not fall under the exclusive remedy provisions and a claim may be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction. These provisions expire on December 31, 2038.
Permanent total disability shall be awarded when the aforementioned toxic exposure awards are exhausted. Upon death, such payments shall be provided to the employee’s spouse or children or to the employee’s estate if no spouse or children exist.
Requires medical providers to apply for reimbursement within 2 years from the date the first notice of dispute of the medical charge was received by a health care provider if services are rendered before July 1, 2013, and within one year if they are rendered after that date.
Employers shall not have subrogation rights in toxic exposure cases when a third person is liable to the employee.
Requires an employee to submit to a reasonable medical examination in claims against the Second Injury Fund at the request of the Attorney General, on behalf of the fund if the employer has not obtained a medical examination report.
Claims filed after the effective date of the act against the fund involving subsequent compensable injuries that are occupational diseases are to be compensated as other second injury fund claims are compensated.
Claims for permanent partial disability shall not be allowed against the Second Injury Fund after the effective date of the act. Claims for permanent total disability shall only be allowed going forward for instances when there exists a medically documented preexisting permanent disability caused by military duty or a preexisting permanent partial disability equaling a minimum of 50 weeks of compensation according to specified medical standards.
There must then be a subsequent work–related compensable injury that, in combination, creates a permanent total dis-ability.
Employees of sheltered workshops who sustain a work–related injury that, when combined with a preexisting disability, results in permanent total disability also have access to the Second Injury Fund.
Employers at the time of the last injury are only liable for the disability resulting from the subsequent injury.
The Second Injury Fund will no longer cover the fair, reasonable, and necessary expenses relating to the death and injury of employees of uninsured employers.
Requires a yearly actuarial study of the fund beginning in 2014.
Compensation shall not be payable from the Second Injury Fund when employees elect to pursue workers’ compensation outside of the state.
Life payments paid out of the Second Injury Fund shall be suspended for all injured employees when the employee is able to obtain suitable gainful employment or be self– employed in view of the nature and severity of the injury.
The act establishes a priority for paying fund liabilities as follows:
• Expenses relating to legal defense of the fund.
• Permanent total disability awards in the order in which they are settled or finally adjudicated.
• Permanent partial disability awards in the order in which they are settled or finally adjudicated.
• Medical expenses incurred prior to July 1, 2012.
• Interest on unpaid awards.
Creates the Missouri Mesothelioma Risk Management Fund to pay Mesothelioma claims brought against contributing members.
Allows the Director of Revenue to set the post award interest, with respect to the Second Injury Fund, to equal the adjusted prime rate charged by banks in certain instances or 5%, whichever is greater.
Workers’ compensation insurers are allowed to insure their entire liability, including their employer liability under a policy of insurance or a self-insurance plan.
The Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation is removed from the Administrative Law Judge Review Committee. The act requires three or more no confidence votes under two successive performance audits for removal of an ALJ instead of two or more such votes under any audit.
The act institutes a funding mechanism to bolster the Second Injury Fund. The Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation shall impose a supplemental surcharge not to exceed 3% of net premiums from 2014 to 2021. The provision containing the authorization of additional surcharge expires on December 31, 2021.
Currently, tax overpayments are credited against the tax for the following year. Under the act, the taxpayer may elect to receive a refund in lieu of a credit.
The act also modifies provisions relating to workers’ compensation insurers.
Workers’ compensation insurers may develop an individual risk premium modification rating plan which prospectively modifies premiums based upon individual risk characteristics which are predictive of future loss. The plan may be subject to disapproval by the director.
The act shall become effective January 1, 2014. (Signed 7/10/13)
CCS/HCS/SS/SB 34 – (See Insurance Law)
HCS/HBs 404 & 614 – Establishes psychological stress of paid peace officers of a police department as an occupational disease for the purposes of workers’ compensation.
Also sets the formula to equalize premium rates for construction employers as that formula existed on January 1, 1999. This provision becomes effective on January 1, 2014. (Signed 6/27/13)