Q&A with Mike Lauderdale
New workers' compensation law
means changes for employers
Q: Senate Bill 1062, which was signed into law this week by Gov. Mary Fallin, makes sweeping changes to the state's workers' compensation system and the way claims for on-the-job injuries are handled. But doesn't it do more than just replace a court-based system with an administrative one?
A: Absolutely. The law still requires employers to provide workers' compensation coverage and benefits, but now they have two options outside the system.
Q: What are the other options for employers?
A: Qualified employers can opt out of the administrative system, provided they offer an employee benefit plan that offers the same or greater benefits for occupational injuries as those specified in the administrative act. Such plans can be fully insured or self-funded. In addition, private sector health and welfare plans that offer both occupational and nonoccupational injury benefits are potentially governed by ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act), so those federal laws will come into play for many employers who choose this option.