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North Carolina tries to overhaul workers' comp

The flaws in North Carolina's workers' compensation program have been pointed out many times in the news over the past year, starting from the shocking discovery that more than 30,000 employers who were required to carry workers' compensation for their employees did not do so, to a report last August that many North Carolina businesses are cutting costs by skimping on insuring their workers.

However, a series of bills are being put forward by a group of legislators, focusing on making it tougher for employers to avoid insuring their employees. Not only are employers supposed to do their best to create an environment with minimal workplace injuries, they are also supposed to carry workers' compensation coverage for their employers who have a right to claim it in case they sustain injuries on the job.

The first step the committee formulated to analyzing workers' compensation in the state is to make employers' coverage information public once more.

In addition to this, the committee is also calling for a study to examine the ways workers' compensation costs can be reduced, such as decreasing the cost of various medical services like inpatient, outpatient and implant costs.

Lastly, the committee is assisting the Industrial Commission identify the thousands of companies not providing coverage to their employers.

Since a lack of an automated system is impeding progress on the last front, a person involved in the process of gathering data from various agencies said the committee hopes to develop an automated system to identify violating companies.

While the Industrial Commission tries to catch up with violators, North Carolina employees should remain aware of their right to file a workers' compensation claim in case of a workplace injury. Their action may just help the process of identifying complying and violating companies.

Source: News Observer, "Legislators suggest ways to detect workers' comp insurance fraud," Mandy Locke, Jan. 30, 2013

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