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(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Oklahoma Opt-Out Workers' Compensation Law Enacted


Governor Mary Fallin today signed into law Senate Bill 1062, a bill that reforms the workers’ compensation system in Oklahoma by removing it from the judicial system and making it an administrative process. The bill, by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman and House Speaker T.W. Shannon, seeks to reduce costs for businesses by providing for an opt-out of the program.

It moves the state from a court-based workers’ compensation system to an administrative system, allowing for more timely processing of claims and reducing the adversarial nature of the process for both workers and employers. 

“For decades, Oklahoma has had one of the most expensive and inefficient workers’ compensation systems in the country, a constant obstacle for business owners looking to expand operations or create more jobs,” Fallin said.  “Senate Bill 1062 completely overhauls our flawed workers’ comp system, dramatically reducing the costs to businesses and freeing up private-sector resources that can be invested in jobs rather than lawsuits. Additionally, our reforms ensure injured workers are treated fairly and given the medical care needed to return to work.  This is an important pro-growth policy that will help us attract jobs and build a stronger and more prosperous Oklahoma.  My thanks go out to Pro Tem Bingman, Speaker Shannon and the entire Legislature forsending this bill to my desk.”

Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said, “Oklahoma’s runaway workers compensation court has been the number one roadblock to job growth for decades, and today, we’re finally putting the brakes on these costs. Replacing our broken workers’ compensation system is historic.  The Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act sends a clear signal to job creators that Oklahoma is truly open for business.  

This bill is especially needed to help us control the year-to-year fluctuation of costs, and to help us compete for good manufacturing jobs while making sure injured workers are treated fairly.  I want to thank the members of the state Senate for their tireless work on this important issue.  Also, I want to thank the Governor and Speaker Shannon for working with me to pass a historic pro-growth initiative.”

Shannon, R-Lawton, said, “Oklahoma has finally found a modern solution to an old problem. For too long, workers and businesses have been subjected to an archaic and inefficient workers’ comp system. This monumental shift from an adversarial judicial system to an administrative system will lower costs for businesses and get injured workers the quick relief they need.”

Read more about "opt-out" and workers' compensation
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Over a decade ago Bechtel Corporation initiated an opt-out program that took workers' compensation out of the adversarial system entirely. Shortly thereafter, the concept of universal healthcare emerged as a concept to ...
Apr 10, 2012
The opt-out process arose through a legislative process over a decade ago when Massachusetts legislation permitted the option to elect out of the mandatory workers' compensation system. Since then it has grown through ...
Apr 21, 2012
Given birth by Bechtel in Massachusetts over a decade ago, nurtured by ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 USCS § 1002) ) and fed by the increasing frustrations of employers and employees throughout ...
Jan 01, 2013
While a trend continues to emerge to offer “Opt Out” and “Carve Out Programs,” they are not global enough to solve the critical budget deficit issues. The latest emerging trend is for employers to utilize ERISA based medical ...
Apr 04, 2011
It is anticipated that Medicare premium costs will continue to increase under the present plan and wealthy Americans will opt-out. This proposal will merely mean a universal opt-out plan leaving the Federal program strapped ...
Nov 03, 2009
However, horror stories are heard from Massachusetts (#1) concerning "opt-out programs," and in Nevada (#2) from OSHA, concerning the failure to abide by safety regulations. These dismal problems seem to be universal ...