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Many legislatures have good intentions encompassed in very bad bills. I find typically the representative does not undestand their bill’s full impact until after the fact. A prime example of this may be Oklahoma Representative Lewis H. Moore who is purposing a bill that according to the representative would

make it possible for the Oklahoma State Employees Benefits Council and the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board to begin a pilot program that state agencies and employers can participate in to take advantage of the 24/7 provision in Title 85.

According to Representative Moore

If you are hurt playing softball, you go to the doctor and have the injury taken care of,” Moore said. “Whatever deductible you have for health insurance is what you would pay for the injury, regardless of whether it was job-related or not. Supplemental coverage would meet many of the expenses incurred using a benefit bank employers can put into place using their savings. The exclusive remedy provision, for liability protection, covers 24/7 coverage as well.

I admit I have not had time to look at the bill. However, the last sentence bolded above causes great concern. It appears the bill would essentially place any injury incurred, whether work related or not, in the exclusive realm of the workers compensation system if any "health insurance" pays for any bills. I can’t fully wrap my mind around it yet, but it appears from the language of the press release that this could essentially preclude individuals from filing lawsuits against third parties (ie. Trucking Company who rear ends an individual) if the hurt individual allows this quasi “health insurance” to cover any of the medical bills.

For those of you who are unaware, workers compensation provides an exclusive remedy for employees who are hurt on the job with legislature mandated amounts awarded for a certain type of injury. Typically, the compensation given to these injured workers are only worth a fraction of what a jury would award them. In other words and employee cannot sue an employer for negligence in our civil courts if he or she is hurt on the job. What is troubling is that if your health insurance pays for any injury related hospital bills they are entitled to recoup what they have paid through subrogation from the party who caused the injury.

I look forward to more information about this bill. I like giving people the benefit of the doubt but from the press release it appears this bill may be a backdoor attempt to benefit insurers such as State Farm, Allstate and Farmers and create a form of immunity for tortfeasors (those who are negligent toward another). This has not been unusual for Oklahoma’s Republican leadership over the past few years. I hope these leaders can get beyond propping up special interests and focus on real problems facing Oklahoma such as the current budget crisis.


  1. Mike Bryant

    So the person with the luck or the foresight to have health insurance would be in a lessor position, then those with out it? The person at fault would benefit from that foresight? That certainly sounds like someone wants to free the wrong doer of responsibility.

  2. Gravatar for Ms. Jma
    Ms. Jma

    I can tell you from my own injury on the job. That my employer contacted Blue Cross Blue Shield the day I went out on my injury.

    Then what happen was my employer stated they had a "limited duty" position available for me.

    When I reported to work I was informed that I could not do the job and they don't know why my manager called me in because their never was a "Limited Duty" position available and they sent me home.

    That gave the insurance agency supposedly covering my injury to "stop" sending me my 66 2/3 % of my income. Because my employer informed them that they had a position for me.

    It took 3 months to get the insurance company to reinstate my checks. Which put me in a huge financial mess since I had no way to cover my loans, my rent and utilities.

    Then Blue Cross Blue Shield stop covering my health care and they never were covering my work injuries. I was left with over $60,000.00 in medical bills that I am still fighting the insurance company covering my workmen's comp injury 5 years later.

    They refused to find my injuries "compensable" until they were ordered "Compensable" by a Workmen's Compensation Commissioner.

    This meant that I had to hire a attorney to help me with this whole mess.

    I have since had to retire from my job which I have lost over $30,000.00 per each year that I was off the job because of my injuries not including my 401 (k) that has been ruined and I have defaulted on because the insurance company chose to drag this out and make me fight every step of the way.

    If you file for Social Security, congress has put what they call a "Offset" provision. What it means is to "Screw" the injuried/ill person who filed for workmen's compensation in the first place. And continue "Screwing" them until the state gets every penny they can.

    So when you tell the workmen's compensation commission that you're filing for Social Security they immediately beginning withdrawing a portion from the amount that was ordered for workmen's compensation to pay.

    Then if your attorney does not put "language" in the request for "relief" to protect the employee Social Security will again deduct more money from your award from the workmen's compensation commission. That is what I call "Double Jeopardy".

    I have since been forced to retire from my job because the insurance company refused to pay my doctor for treating me and refused to pay for medications that I have needed.

    And my employer refused to allow me to return to my job.

    Yet our Senator in South Carolina Mr. Henry Brown is taking care of himself. He's retiring from Congress with his pension and all the money in his pension that he has made. And his Health care and now he's running for a state/city position in Charleston SC that pays over $140,000.00 a year and I'm sure with another "Retirement" plan.

    They sure know how to take care of one another. How about stepping aside and letting someone that needs a job and has the creditials in Charleston have that position.

    I believe that everyone in Congress should be set to term limits, should have their healthcare taken away and only walk away with the money they invested in their retirement and the shirt on their back when they leave office.

    Isn't that what they have allowed to happen over the last 20 years to most hard working Americans.

    And now they want to take away from the disabled and the families that care for the disabled. They sure know how to beat someone when they are down.

    Unless you have money in this country you don't mean anything to anyone. People will turn their backs and walk away when they stop seeing the dollar signs. That means, doctors, attorneys, hospitals, insurance companies, people you were once friends with, your family.

    And we want to teach other countries how to treat others and how to run their countries. I believe we need to take a really hard look at our own country and start working on what really is right.

    If a person loses everything it affects more than one individual. It affects their family, their family's family, the community, local businesses and so on.

    We need to remember that in the end what really matters is how we treat others because that determines the stability in our country, our families, our communities and other countries.

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