Should it become a law, it could provide an alternative to the state-mandated offering, within the free market.
Tennessee Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), who is also the vice chair of the state Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, and who is also a physician, introduced a bill with Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin), the House Majority Whip, which was designed to create an alternative to the state-mandated workers compensation insurance and that would be sold in the free market.
This new Tennessee Option has been created based on the design and models of successful components of other programs.
The Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers Compensation (ARAWC) stated that the Tennessee option is based on the best practices of the Oklahoma Option and the Texas nonsubscription. The Tennessee Option was created to offer employers in Tennessee an alternative for both funding and handling job related injuries. At the same time, it still allows the protection of employees and their families and other dependents.
At the center of this workers compensation alternative are four very important components.
These elements are: employer-employee engagement, accountability of employees, medical management, as well as competition within the free market. According to Senator Green, “The core focus of the Tennessee Option is to help injured employees get back to work faster.” He also went on to say that “Making that happen requires good benefits, strong communication, and will lead to higher employee satisfaction. An Option will also give job creators a way to save more than 50% on workers’ comp costs, so they can invest in growth and more employees.”
A spokesperson for ARAWC, Brent Buchanan, explained that the new insurance bill is something that has been in various stages of creation over the last half year, and the next stage of that process is a committee hearing. Due to the strength of the sponsorship, Buchanan feels that there is a powerful opportunity for the bill to pass the legislative session.
The president of ARAWC, Janine Kral, who is also the Nordstrom vice president of risk, management, said that in the association will act as a resource in the effort to bring workers compensation insurance alternatives within a free market environment.