Home > Uncategorized > TN Gets Ball Rolling Towards WC Opt-Out; CA Not So Much

TN Gets Ball Rolling Towards WC Opt-Out; CA Not So Much

One of the wonders of the United States if Federalism: 50 concurrent laboratory experiments all running different methods to see what works, what doesn’t, and why.  In California, for example, we have workers and employers, physicians and lawyers, services providers, insurers, self-insurers, re-insurers, and self-insured groups, all sewn together into a giant sack called California’s workers’ compensation system.  And, in fact, there is constantly growing frustration as to how the system works, or rather why it doesn’t.

Injured workers often feel they’re not getting enough.  Un-injured workers sometimes feel their allegedly injured counterparts are getting too much, and shrinking their paychecks in the process.  The employers would rather have independent contractors, and often try to contract for independent contractor status, only to have the once eager-to-agree worker now seek to have this agreement nullified by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.  Employers often express frustration with bearing not only the cost of the benefits, but also of administering the benefits.

What if we were to restore the right of individuals to contract once more?  That’s what Texas has done with its “opt-out” law, and, as of May of 2013, Oklahoma adopted its own “opt-out” law for workers’ compensation as well.

It looks like Tennessee may be getting the ball rolling in that direction too.  Mark Green, state senator from the volunteer state, has announced that one of his proposals in the 2015 legislative session will be to allow Tennessee employers to “opt out” of the state’s workers’ compensation system.

Your humble blogger has previously proposed consideration of allowing employees to purchase their own workers’ compensation insurance, but an opt-out would not be a bad idea for Californians to consider at this point.  Certainly, with a population of almost 40 million, the suggestion that there should be flexibility in approach to an area that covers industries spanning from ancient farming methods to futuristic high-tech and everything in between is not unfounded.

In any case, Tennessee is apparently going to be exploring new options, and California employers may soon find yet another destination to explore, much like Tesla explored Nevada, Toyota explored Texas, and a few other examples that are just a google search away.  Perhaps it’s time for California to figure out a way to be more flexible and dynamic, and to free up the exchanges between employees and employers.

Now, that being said, your humble blogger is going to get back to work finding a relocation

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