Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council Considers Presumption Bills

March 1, 2021

Bills addressing workers’ compensation coverage for certain COVID-19 cases and firefighter cancers were discussed by the council.

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The Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) last week discussed several bills that have been introduced this session addressing workers’ compensation issues.

The WCAC, which addresses issues and recommends legislation pertaining to workers’ compensation, was created by statute and is housed in the Department of Labor and Industry. It consists of 12 members with equal representation from labor and management.

Bills would affect cities

Among the bills the WCAC heard were:

  • HF 1203/SF 1203 (Dan Wolgamott, DFL-St. Cloud, and Sen. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville), a bill that extends the current May 30 sunset for the COVID-19 occupational disease presumption for public safety and health care workers.
  • SF 1035 (Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley), a bill that would expand the workers’ compensation occupational disease cancer presumption for firefighters.

League provides testimony

The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) submitted written testimony on both bills. LMCIT does not specifically oppose the extension of the COVID-19 presumption based on the claims experience in the first waves of the pandemic. However, LMCIT stressed that there have been significant costs related to the pandemic and that concerns about the impact of future virus variants could challenge the workers’ compensation system.

LMCIT did express serious concerns about the firefighter cancer presumption expansion, including concerns that the use of presumptions in Minnesota are blurring the lines between health insurance, disability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Read LMCIT’s letter to WCAC

No action was taken on the bills. The WCAC will meet again on March 10 to continue deliberations on legislation to recommend to the Legislature.

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