New Workers’ Compensation Legislation in South Carolina

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workers compensation law in sc 2015

On May 19, 2015 Representative David Hiott introduced new legislation in the South Carolina House of Representatives, titled House Bill 4197, or “The South Carolina Employment Injury Benefit Plan Alternative.” The bill authorizes employers to have an exemption from obtaining workers’ compensation insurance and instead allows them to obtain a certificate from the South Carolina Department of Insurance to provide coverage through an employer. Commenting on the bill, Rep. Hiott stated he believes “ that markets operate best and participants receive the most benefit possible when competition exists . . . [this bill] will provide businesses an alternative . . . .” He also stated he viewed this bill as a win for “hardworking South Carolina workers.”

Specifics of the Bill

Instead of the usual workers’ compensation insurance, the employer would have to submit an application/certification process. The minimum benefits, comparable to workers’ compensation, would be established by the legislation. Along with medical benefits, indemnity benefits for total/partial disability and permanent impairment, and benefits for death are also established. The alternative plan must offer comparable benefits to those under workers’ compensation. This includes compensation for medical, surgical, hospital, dental, other kinds of treatments, surgical supplies, nursing services, rehabilitation services, medicine, and prosthetics.

The bill mandates the notice be provided to employees by a posting in the workplace that the employer does not provide workers’ compensation insurance, but rather has a self-insured private plan. Further, the Department of Insurance must post on its website a list of certified businesses. The businesses must provide financial security to cover payment of liabilities as well.

The Association of Responsible Workers’ Compensation Alternatives assisted Rep. Hiott with the bill. Their position on the legislation is that it adds a competitive pressure to the system that produces more favorable outcomes for the primary stakeholders in the process. Who those stakeholders are, however, is unclear.

Other notable aspects of the bill include the provision for employer plans to provide lump-sum payouts to satisfy all obligations and settlement agreements, with the caveat that payouts must equate to expected future payments as reasonably determined by the claims administrator. The employers cannot charge the employee a fee for covering them under the plan. Finally, the Department of Insurance may require a deposit by employers to secure payment of the benefit plan liabilities. This plan is not without its skeptics. Some workers are concerned with the amount of lifetime injured medical benefits and the lack of permanentworkers compensation law in sc 2015 partial disability benefits. The act will take effect for injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2017.

Can Our Attorneys Help You Today?

No matter what happens with the new bill you can be assured that The Law Offices of Steven M Krause PA will be there to ensure you receive what you are entitled to. Our dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys are always up to date on the latest advancements in the law of workers’ compensation and we know how to fight for your benefits.


We help people like you every day.