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Workers Lose, Insurance Companies Win with Workers’ Comp in Illinois

A study by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) found that Illinois is indeed a very good place to conduct business. Summarizing the findings in a recent fact sheet, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) reports that since a 2011 push to cut workers’ compensation payouts in Illinois, our state has done just that while padding the pockets of the insurance companies who should be paying these claims. The efforts to reform workers’ comp came as businesses put pressure on lawmakers to make our state more hospitable to businesses. Businesses and insurance companies are winning, while injured workers and the doctors who treat them are paying the price.

In a state-by-state analysis, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) found that Illinois

  1. Had the largest decrease in medical benefits paid out of any state
  2. Had the second largest decrease in all workers’ comp benefits paid of any state

High Premiums Mean Huge Profits…For Insurance Companies
To add some perspective to the findings, we must acknowledge that Illinois is home to the highest number of workers’ comp insurers in the country. More insurance companies are setting up shop here because business is good and just keeps getting better. In April, our blog touched on Governor Rauner’s claims that our still high insurance premiums are the result of workers still being injured, not insurance companies hanging onto profits. In fact, between 2011-2015, the payouts have dropped from 75% to 53% and the amount of premiums that insurance companies have kept (meaning not paid out to injured workers) has doubled. The NASI analysis also shows that between 2011-2016, insurance companies have profited $6 billion off premiums.

The 2011 push to make Illinois more business friendly seems to have made our state more insurance company friendly. But what about how friendly our state is to those men and women who work to keep our economy prospering and are injured on the job? We’d argue Illinois is not so kind after all.