Amendment 69 Will Hit Colorado Employers in the Wallet
Last month, we shared our general concerns about Amendment 69, the ballot initiative to create a single-payer health care system in Colorado.
Let’s start with a quick recap of our broad concerns about Amendment 69’s impact on workers’ comp in Colorado. This new system, dubbed ColoradoCare, would absorb the medical costs now paid by workers’ comp. That would lead to the loss of myriad insurer services that help manage costs and the specialized care that can speed an injured employee’s return to work. The market would destabilize as a result, and costs could rise — demolishing Colorado’s stable workers’ comp system. Think of a few years back in California, where employers were leaving the state due to a broken workers compensation system. We DON’T want that to happen to Colorado. We’ve worked for too long to create an effective and fair system to let Coloradocare destroy all progress. Remember, no one works for Coloradocare yet, there are no provider contracts, the benefits haven’t even been determined and yet they claim it will be less expensive. Sounds like an employee telling his boss he could run the company better when he’s never owned a business before. The well being of Colorado’s workers is at stake here. Let’s not throw away all the progress we’ve made.
Consider also that Amendment 69 would eliminate our ability to recover damages from the third parties that are responsible for your workers’ injuries, which could have implications for your premium.
Currently, when a workplace injury is caused by a negligent third party, workers’ comp insurers can seek to recover funds from that third party through a process called subrogation. Subrogation entitles a workers’ comp carrier to recoup damages from the responsible party accountable for the claim. When a subrogation claim is successfully recovered, the payments are credited to you — which can positively affect your premium. For example, if one of your employees fell off a ladder at work, Pinnacol would pay for the injuries associated with the accident. However, if we determined the accident was caused by a defect in the ladder itself, then the manufacturer may be liable for the worker’s injuries. In this case, Pinnacol would seek reimbursement from the manufacturer or its insurance company on your behalf.
We’re not talking peanuts here. In 2015, Pinnacol recovered more than $6.5 million on behalf of its policyholders. That’s millions of dollars that ColoradoCare, if approved, could prevent from reaching its rightful owner: you