HB21-1050, Workers’ Compensation, continues to press forward towards the Governor’s desk as it passed through the Legislature. This bill, which aims to make sweeping changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act, will include such amendments as reducing the benefit cap of TTD/TPD/PPD under 8-42-107.5, C.R.S. (reducing to 19% from 25%), clarifying the 24-Month Division IME process, and revising the situations where a withdrawal of admissions will be appropriate. Assuming the Governor signs, this Act will go into effect on September 11, 2021.
The companion bill of HB21-1207, Overpayment of Workers’ Compensation Benefits, was signed by the Governor on May 17, 2021. This new law, which goes into effect January 1, 2022, clarifies “overpayments” under the Act as money received by the claimant (1) resulting from fraud; (2) resulting from an error due to miscalculation, omission, or clerical error; (3) pain in error or in excess of an admission that exists at the time of the payment; or (4) represents duplicate benefits that results from offsets that would otherwise reduce the amounts owed to the claimant. It is clarified that wages received by the claimant while also receiving TTD/TPD represent “duplicate benefits” that can result in an overpayment. Respondents can assert a credit for an overpayment of TTD/TPD against PPD and/or request an ALJ to determine the overpayment and order repayment. The new law limits Respondents’ ability to reopen claims for the purposes of recouping the overpayment, but for in the case of fraud and involving the circumstances described in section 8-42-113.5 (defining recovery of an overpayment).
SB21-197, “Workers’ Compensation Physician”, did not meet success this year and has been “postponed indefinitely” after the fiscal note was published. The coalition behind this bill did not include key stakeholders, most notably the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This meant that many financial and administrative consequences were not fully developed prior to the introduction of the bill aimed at changing how claimants can choose their authorized treating providers. It is possible that a revamped bill will be reintroduced next year seeking out the voices of the Division of Workers’ Compensation and other key stakeholders, like Pinnacol, CSIA, or the CDLA prior to introduction.