Oklahoma employees who like to remain apprised of developments in the workers’ compensation field may be interested to know of the issues they should pay attention to in 2017. The possible changes in the industry may be the result of the 2016 presidential election and the outcomes of the gubernatorial elections that will occur in 2017.

A repeal of or changes to the Affordable Care Act may impact workers’ compensation. The passage of the ACA resulted in many health insurers leaving the marketplace, which in turn caused premium prices to increase and competition to decline. A worker’s compensation industry expert has stated a focus should be placed on the population wellness instead of continuing to use the present sick care system.

Because of the falling rates and increased exposures in underwriting, a negative outlook for insurers is expected for 2017. Some workers’ compensation carriers may leave the marketplace if a recommendation by the National Council on Compensation Insurance for a 20 percent rate increase is implemented in Florida due to legal decisions that altered the laws pertaining to existing claims.

Challenges to the constitutionality of workers’ compensation laws in five states means that there will be unanticipated liabilities for self-insureds and carriers. This is because the decisions that ruled parts of the laws were unconstitutional are retroactive going all the way back to when the law became effective. Litigation regarding occupational diseases is expected to continue in 2017. This is partly due to old statutes that do not factor in manifestation times for work-related diseases.

In the meantime, people who are injured on the job may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under their employer’s existing coverage. An attorney can be of assistance in describing the nature and scope of the benefits and in preparing and submitting the required claim.