Some of the nation’s biggest companies in the health care, retail, food and trucking industries in Texas and Oklahoma are choosing to opt out of state workers’ compensation laws and implement their own insurance. It seems a radical idea, but it’s gaining traction, with lawmakers in South Carolina and Tennessee weighing similar measures.
An attorney in Dallas is leading a national effort to “re-engineer” the workers’ compensation system, which guarantees those injured on the job coverage of medical bills and supplemental wages until they can return to work. That attorney, Bill Minick, owns a company that writes about 50 percent of the opt-out plans in Texas and 90 percent of those in Oklahoma.
According to the latest in a collaborative journalistic series by ProPublica and NPR, “Insult to Injury: Inside Corporate America’s Campaign to Ditch Workers’ Comp,” this is a man whose firm not only boasts clientele such as Walmart, McDonald’s and dozens of others, he “pioneered the concept” of opting out of workers’ compensation, and he helped to write the current law in Oklahoma.