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Paduda: What's Keeping Workers' Comp Execs Up at Night

By Joe Paduda

Monday, June 1, 2020 | 436 | 0 | min read

After 28 calls with workers’ comp execs over eight days it’s quite clear that many are very concerned about specific issues.

Joe Paduda

Joe Paduda

Premiums

With payrolls plummeting, small businesses closed and many not likely to re-open, and many governmental entities under severe pressure due to lack of income from sales and other taxes, insurers are quite nervous about premium income.

With the Paycheck Protection Program expiring at the end of next month, more employers may lay off workers they had to keep on payroll.

Impacted most will be carriers focused on smaller businesses, especially hospitality, retail and tourism-related sectors.

Multiline liability

Several insurer execs voiced deep unease about general liability issues related to employees contracting COVID at the workplace. If those workers go home and family members become infected, there’s concern the employer may have some degree of liability. Especially if they knowingly flouted or ignored safety guidance.

The tail

Several execs specifically tasked with leading their companies’ COVID response noted a lack of clear understanding about the near-term and long-term impacts of COVID on patients. Permanent lung damage, kidney problems, blood clots, cardiac issues and health problems related to long-term use of ventilators were all cited as potential concerns for patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

Relatively few patients are likely to suffer these conditions. However, for those who do, the potential impact on health and well-being, along with future employment implications, merit close attention.

Presumption

Most of all, executives want certainty. Ideally, many want COVID to be classified as a “disease of life,” but in multiple states, that ship appears to have sailed.

What does this mean for you?

We don’t know much at all about COVID, so we’d better pay very close attention to facts and data, not political pandering and nonsense.

Joseph Paduda is co-owner of CompPharma, a consulting firm focused on improving pharmacy programs in workers’ compensation. This column is republished with his permission from his Managed Care Matters blog.

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