Employer Assistance Program Helps Employers Avoid Delinquency and Fight Fraud

We don't hear about EAP's much anymore in the work comp industry, so I thought you would like to read about new Employer Assistance Program offered by Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) helps employers avoid becoming delinquent on their workers compensation accounts.
The program and new tools to fight fraud were announced at a recent press conference held by Gov. Chris Gregoire and L&I Director Judy Schurke at the L&I Seattle office. More than 4,800 Washington state businesses have been assisted by the new program.
“Like families across Washington, businesses have seen incomes drop but still have bills to pay,” Gregoire said. “When it comes to workers compensation, businesses face another challenge: they are undercut by an underground economy in which some businesses operate without legally required protections for their workers, and try to succeed on the backs of honest businesses that follow the law.” (WCxKit)
To help businesses during this difficult economic period, L&I launched the Employer Assistance Program last year, allowing struggling businesses to extend payment of their workers comp premiums to manage their cash flow more effectively if they find themselves in trouble.
The program was created after L&I discovered more than half of the 13,000 employers delinquent with their workers comp accounts had previously held stellar records making their payments. Initially scheduled to last nine months, L&I announced they will continue the Employer Assistance Program due to the slow pace of the economic recovery.
“I want to tell employers if you have a good payment history with L&I but you’re having trouble paying your workers comp premiums now, we want you to contact us and let us help you,” Schurke said. “We can set up a payment plan and, in many cases, waive late penalties and interest.”
The press conference was also an opportunity to unveil new fraud-fighting tools, looking for employers who don't pay their premiums, medical providers who overbill and injured workers who file fraudulent claims. Cheating the system is not a victimless crime, but one hurting workers, employers and taxpayers by driving up premium costs for everyone.
The new programs include Detecting Unregistered Employers, or DUE, scheduled to begin in Fall 2010. The program uses software to flag businesses who fail to register with the state and pay into the workers comp system. (WCxKit)
"Our return on investment for fraud prevention has been eight to one – for every one dollar we spend we bring back eight dollars to the Workers Compensation Trust Fund,” Schurke said. “Our goal is to make sure Washington is the least fraud-friendly state in the nation.”
Author Robert Elliott,  executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers’ Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.  Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com  or 860-553-6604.  
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers' comp issues.
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