Workers’ comp shake-up

Just months after Oklahoma’s new workers’ compensation law went into effect, a unique provision of the law that allows employers to opt out of the state’s new administrative system and handle claims through its own injury benefit medical plan is getting more attention. Many experts predict this “Oklahoma Option” will benefit large employers as well as other companies that typically experience a large amount of claims volume annually.

Brandon Long, a McAfee & Taft employee benefits attorney who has spoken frequently on the topic, was interviewed by The Journal Record about the new law and which employers are likely to experience the greatest benefit from going with the Oklahoma Option. According to Long, early projections by leading industry experts indicate the implementation of the new law will do exactly what it was designed to do: save Oklahoma employers money. While those who default into the administrative system should automatically see a savings of between 9 and 12 percent, those who spend more than $100,000 per year or handle more than 12 claims per year could see substantial savings by covering on-the-job injuries under an employer-sponsored medical plan.

Although he admits opting out of the administrative system isn’t for every employer, he recommends that those with larger claims volumes strongly consider the Oklahoma Option. He explained that a large portion of paid claims are typically spent on time off for injured employees and attorneys’ fees. With the opt-out provision, more money is spent on medical treatment, which helps to get workers back to work sooner.