January 2, 2013
Florida workers' compensation marketplace in 2012 remained dominated by competing private providers that continue to flourish following statutory changes made a decade ago, the Office of Insurance Regulation concluded in a report released Wednesday. Medical costs associated with drug repackaging, hospital care and ambulatory services are putting upward pressure on rates but premiums remain less than half of what they were before the 2003 changes, according the annual report. Premiums, however, have risen in each of the last three years, including a 6.1 percent increase that kicked in Jan. 1. The National Council of Compensation Insurance says proposed reforms dealing with patient care and drug costs could cut premiums by up to 9.4 percent. Lawmakers are expected to again fight over the ability of some physicians to repackage medication for workers' comp patients. Critics say repackaging unnecessarily raises premiums. Advocates contend repackaging lowers costs in the long run as patients get well faster after getting the medications they need.
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