The 2015 Annual Report from the State of Alaska Division or Workers Compensation shows what a big business workers compensation claims are and insurance companies’ trends to improve their profits. The full report is accessible on the Division’s website at: http://labor.state.ak.us/wc/forms/2015AR.pdf
In 2015, a total of 301.7 million dollars of benefits was paid, an increase of 2% over 2014. Medical benefits of $162.5 million and indemnity (temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial impairment and permanent total disability) in the amount of $73 million were paid.
There were some interesting changes in the amount of indemnity benefits paid in 2015. TTD (temporary total disability) was down by 4.8 million. TPD (temporary partial disability) was down by .1 million while PPI (permanent partial impairment ratings) were up 2.4 million.
One could infer from these numbers that insurance companies are forcing PPI ratings earlier which in turn terminates the Employee’s TTD or TPD benefits sooner at a huge savings to the insurance companies. In 2015, the savings to the insurance companies for rushing the PPI rating according to these numbers is 2.5 million dollars!
These numbers are consistent with what I have been seeing . More and more Employees are sent to an “independent” medical evaluation (arranged by an insurance company) where that doctor states that they are medically stable, able to go back to work and have a small, if any, PPI rating – even while the Employee is still in pain and still seeing his doctor for treatment, even while the treating doctors are contemplating surgery or a second surgery.
Although it looks legal enough on paper, so much so that a trusting Employee would not contest the insurance doctors’ statements, the Employee still has rights. He always has the right to fight unfair treatment by the insurance company. Being rushed to a PPI rating is one such example of unfair treatment.
If an Employee is disabled from work and requires medical treatment, he is entitled to TTD or TPD and medical benefits regardless of what the insurance doctor says. The Employee has the right to file a Claim to pursue his rights and to hire an attorney to assist him.
Keenan Powell has practiced Workers Compensation law in the State of Alaska for over 30 years and has dedicated her practice to Workers Compensation representing injured Alaskans handling hundreds of cases. www.keenanpowell.com.
All consultations are free. To make an appointment, use the contact form on this website or call: 907 258 7663.