I hinted at this on our talk show a few days ago, as the word was already out that Montana may soon top the list, but now it is official: Montana leads the nation in worker’s comp costs.
The Montana Watchdog’s Phil Drake has this:
“Montana is a great place to run a business, but being No 1 in workers’ compensation costs is a big black eye for the state,” Webb Brown, president/CEO of the chamber, said in the news release.
In the past 10 years, the Oregon study has shown Montana moving up in the rankings. In 2000, Montana had the 12th highest premiums, 10th highest in 2002, eighth highest in 2004, fifth highest in 2006, and the second highest in 2008. This year, Montana surpassed Alaska to take the top spot.
Our neighboring states, meanwhile, have some of the lowest workers comp rates in the country.
Meanwhile, an earlier report out this week, also by The Montana Watchdog suggests that any efforts to deal with Montana’s high workers comp rates won’t come without a fight.
“I’m going to work as hard as I can to improve the workers’ compensation system and if you have trouble with that – tough,” said Sen. Jim Keane, D-Butte, who chairs the state Legislature’s Economic Affairs Interim Committee, which has been tasked with overhauling workers’ compensation, reportedly now rated as the costliest in the nation.
However, physicians, caregivers and others opposed to the changes charged the state had left them out of the process.
Dr. Chriss Mack, who also works in Missoula, said he was angered by accusations that treating workers’ compensation patients is profitable.
“I don’t like seeing workers’ compensation patients, but I do it as a public service,” he said. “This concept that physicians are making a killing on workers’ compensation is ludicrous, ridiculous and offensive.”