Workers Compensation Update in Texas
Unlike other states, Texas allows employers to choose whether or not to provide Worker’s Compensation to employees (although public employers and employers who enter into a building or construction contract with a governmental entity must provide Worker’s Compensation). But could this change in the future with Texas making Workers Comp mandatory?
Most recently, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) released figures showing that at least 500,000 Texas workers have no occupational insurance coverage, either from a state-approved Worker’s Compensation plan or from a private equivalent. This caused an impassioned debate at a legislative hearing in late April about policy solutions in the only state in the country where the decision to carry Worker’s compensation insurance or a private equivalent is voluntary for companies of any size.
The TDI figures show that in 2012 some 81% of Texas employees were covered by Worker’s Compensation insurance. Of those who don’t have coverage, about 70% have some type of private occupational insurance. The quality of that coverage varies, according to the TDI. The remaining 30% of those outside the Worker’s Compensation are without coverage. That adds up to at least 500,000 people, TDI officials said last month.
The Texas House Committee on Business and Industry is now studying the voluntary Worker’s Compensation system, the shifting of costs to taxpayers and proposals for improving care for workers — or their families — who are left with few or no benefits after a workplace injury or death. Among the possible improvements they discussed at a hearing last month were proposals to make Worker’s Compensation coverage mandatory for at least danger-prone industries such as construction — an idea that has typically drawn heavy opposition from the business lobby in the past. Some lawmakers also want to stop misclassification of employees as subcontractors, which allows employers to avoid paying taxes and benefits.
We’ll keep you posted on this and other Workers Compensation developments around the country. Caitlin Morgan provides comp solutions to insureds on a nationwide basis. Please give us a call at 877.226.1027 to find out more about our programs.
Sources: The Brownville Herald