Act now to maximize your retro refund potential

If you participate in one of the following Retro groups, look up April 2nd in your calendar and save the date!

  • SMART Dream Team
  • SMART A Team
  • PITB Transportation

That is date of the Retro freeze date, which is a critical part of calculating Retro refunds.

Washington workers’ comp freeze dates explained

You can think of the freeze date as the point when L&I captures all of the claim costs for your Retro group as of that day. Remember playing freeze tag with your friends as a kid? The freeze date is basically the same thing, with L&I shouting “Freeze” for claims costs.

Here are a few more things to know about the Freeze date:

  • There is one freeze per year for each Retro group, about 10 months after the plan year ends.
  • If the total costs on that day are less than L&I predicted they would be, your group is in line for a refund.
  • If the total costs are higher than predicted, your group may be charged extra money to make up the cost difference. This is known as an “assessment.”

The fewer number of open claims and the lower the claims costs, the higher the chance for a refund. So, if your company has open claims, your Approach Retro Coordinator will work with you to create an action plan for closure and/or cost mitigation. These actions can include things such as bringing injured employees back work on a temporary light-duty or permanent modified-duty assignment. Doing so will reduce the costs and, hopefully, maximize your potential refund!

There is no relief for claims costs during COVID-19, so it’s more important than ever to bring your injured employees back to work

Washington workers’ comp and COVID-19

You may have heard that L&I is offering employers relief on paying their workers’ comp premiums due to COVID-19.

Unfortunately, there is no relief for indemnity costs during COVID-19. L&I will pay time-loss until a) your injured employee is released to their regular job of injury or b) you provide a light-duty job.

Even with so many pressures on Washington employers right now, it’s more important than ever to bring your injured employees back to work on a temporary or permanent basis. Otherwise, you could be looking at workers’ comp rate increases of 25% per year for three years in a row — rates you’ll pay for every hour and every employee.

Your Approach retro coordinator can help you develop light-duty job descriptions that work for today’s environment, such as COVID-19 safety monitors or a variety of jobs that are suitable for working-from-home.

Getting injured employees back on the job

Luckily, the Stay-at-Work and Preferred Worker programs are both still available for employers. These each come with incentives of $10,000 or more and, best of all, your company might be eligible to use both programs! Your retro coordinator can help you determine if either program is a match for your injured employee(s), plus help you with the job offer paperwork.

Claim closure checklist for December

April will be here before we know it, so your Retro Coordinator will be asking you to move fast on getting your injured employees back to work. Here are some basic steps you may need to take:

  • Developing a light-duty job description for approval by the Attending Provider
  • Extending a formal written job offer to the injured employee
  • Allowing an injured employee to attend closing/rating medical examinations to expedite claim closure

Approach has a light-duty job description library, complete with COVID-19 response jobs, so we can quickly tailor a position to the needs of your company and injured employee.

Time is of the essence this year, especially with L&I staff furloughs and waiting times to see providers, so let’s get started right away! We can only count the savings that we achieve up to April 2nd.

No claims? Let’s keep it that way!

If your company doesn’t have any open workers’ comp claims, then you don’t need to do anything in preparation for freeze.

This would be a great time to let your employees know that safety is a priority so that we can help avoid any new claims in the future. An injury that never happens is always cheaper than a claim!

Remember, as a member of an Approach-managed retro group, you receive an annual complimentary safety visit! Schedule your visit now at https://approachms.com/resources/forms/safety-visit-request/