In a highly controversial move, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) continues to move forward with proposed changes to class code 8868, the current classification used to represent Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) agencies working with children with Autism.
The new proposed classification for ABA is 8874—Special Educational Services for Children and Youth. This decision has been met with opposition from many employers who currently provide services to the developmentally disabled and rely on government programs for funding.
Employers argue that the proposed rate increases would limit their ability to raise funds in order to pay for increased workers’ compensation premiums. The counter offered by the Bureau pertains to the anticipated reduction in experience modification factors, which they believe should level out the proposed rate increase of 25 percent year-to-year (for the next 8 years).
Unfortunately, this only impacts those agencies that currently qualify for experience rating, which many smaller ABA agencies do not. The proposed increase would be a significant hurdle for new agencies looking to enter into the marketplace as the expense of workers’ compensation could be too cost prohibitive.
In addition to a request to delay the decision to align with the new fiscal year, two proposed amendments have been requested:
- Limit the relative increase in pure premium to 10 percent per year (in lieu of the proposed 25 percent).
- Delay the implementation date for the changes to new and renewal policies with anniversary dates on or after July 1, 2019.
In a recent call with the Bureau, a representative indicated that they intend to move forward with the January 1, 2019 date.
“The public hearing should close by the first week of September, and historically the Insurance Commissioner makes a decision within three to four weeks from the closed hearing date,” a Bureau representative said. “We believe by the end of September we should have a decision by the Commissioner on the approval of these new class codes, effective January 1, 2019. Finally, the public hearing date for the 2019 pure premium rate filing is set for October 5. Generally, Insurance Commissioner makes a decision within a month from the public hearing date.”
More to follow as this continues to develop.
If you’d like additional information and a copy of the webinar slides presented by the WCIRB, please feel free to contact me directly.