TALLHASSEE, Fla. -- Small businesses in Florida are not happy about a new increase in workers' compensation insurance rates.
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has approved a rate hike averaging 8.9 percent statewide. It will take effect January 1, 2012.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance requested the increase during a hearing two weeks ago. The group argued insurers' were collecting less premiums and expenses were climbing as a result of more expensive doctor-dispensed prescriptions.
That's a serious loophole in the law, according to the small business advocacy group National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB Executive Director Bill Herrle is calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation preventing doctors from charging big markups on repackaged prescriptions.
Some doctors are raising prices on prescriptions more than 600 percent and then dispensing them in their offices, said Herrle.
"They have found a glitch in the law and they've parked themselves right in front of it and are reaping enormous profits. Workers' compensation is there to protect the injured workers and to protect businesses from unexpected liabilities. So we need the Legislature to act on this package."
Herrle said it's the second year in a row that small businesses have seen an increase in their workers' compensation rates.
Insurers said even with the hike in premiums, rates are 58 percent lower than they were before the Legislature instituted workers' comp reforms in 2003.
First Coast News