Newly Proposed Bills Which May Affect the Workers’ Compensation Act

By: Kelli Anne Francis

There were several new bills introduced by the Business and Labor Committee this session regarding proposed changes to Workers’ Compensation Act. The bills in bold indicate that they have been moved to priority status for debate.  If you have further inquiries regarding the bills introduced, you can search them at https://www.nebraskalegislature.gov

LB19  Introduced by Senator Briese:  A bill to amend section 84-712.05 to provide for confidentiality of certain reports of injury under the NWCA.

LB178    Introduced by Senator Hilgers: A bill to change provisions relating to workers’ compensation claims and tort claims against the state, the State Self-Insured Liability Fund, and state vehicles; to harmonize the provisions. (Instead of a State Claims Board for claims against governmental bodies, there will be a Risk Manager. Any payments over the total of $50,000 will be reported to the Legislature. It creates the ability for the State Self-Insured Liability Fund to be used as essentially excess coverage.)

LB 360 Introduced by Senator Hansen: A bill to provide for settlement of claims of alien dependents and to provide for applicability of changes. (This names the consular officer, unless someone else is assigned a power of attorney over the nonresident alien dependent, to act as their attorney of record for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits.)

LB 364 Introduced by Senator Quick:  A bill relating to the NWCA to amend section 48-120 to change provisions relating to a limit on certain medical fees.

LB 408 Introduced by Senator Quick: A bill relating to the NWCE to amend 48-122.01 to change provisions relating to compensation paid upon death of an employee. (Adding a $25,000 amount payable to a representative of the Estate should there be no dependent or spouse.)

LB418 Introduced by several senators: A bill to amend section 45-601 to change provisions relating to certain medical debt collection involving workers’ compensation to harmonize provisions.  (This would keep debt collectors from trying to collect on medical bills during pendency of workers’ compensation litigation and make them subject to the fee schedule.)

LB 448 Introduced by Senator McDonnell: A bill to amend section 48-122 to change provisions relating to compensation paid for burial expenses. (It is currently $10,000 death benefit. It would changes to be the AWW x 14 = new death benefit.)

LB 487 Introduced by Senator La Grone:  A bill to amend section 48-11,110require the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court to adopt an evidence-based drug formulary as prescribed. (This would circumvent the need for obtaining prior authorization from the insurer to fill the prescription. Any party may request a finding by an IME to authorize the prescription if it is not included in the formulary adopted by the court, or the insurer denies it.)

LB526 Introduced by Senator McDonnell:  A bill to amend section 48-121 to change provisions relating to compensation for TTD. (TTD would continue until you have either a scheduled member rating or a Loss of Earning Capacity rating, or 30 days after the employee has been given notice TTD will stop. The ER has to provide to the EE copies of the evidence which were relied upon in making the determination to cease payment. This is similar to the Auxier letter in Iowa.)