Nashville, TN – Tennessee State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), a physician and Vice-Chair of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, and Tennessee State Representative Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin), House Majority Whip recently introduced a bill to create the Tennessee Option, a free market alternative to state-mandated workers’ compensation insurance. Sen. Jack Johnson, chairman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, is co-sponsoring the Senate bill. Rep. Glen Casada (R-Thompson Station), chairman of the House Republican Caucus, is co-sponsoring the House version.
The Tennessee Option will be state-specific, drawing from the best practices of Texas nonsubscription and the Oklahoma Option. It will provide Tennessee employers with an alternative way to fund and respond to occupational injuries while still protecting employees and their families. The key components of the Tennessee Option are: employee accountability, medical management, employee-employer engagement, and free-market competition.
“The core focus of the Tennessee Option is to help injured employees get back to work faster. Making that happen requires good benefits, strong communication, and will lead to higher employee satisfaction,” said Sen. Mark Green. “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.”
“We will cut red tape for Tennessee businesses with the Tennessee Option. That is reason alone to pass the legislation,” said Rep. Jeremy Durham. “If we want to make Tennessee a better place to work and live, we have to take bold steps like this to help employers while still protecting employees.”
Oklahoma passed Option legislation in 2013, and Texas has allowed alternative injury benefit programs for more than 100 years. Texas employers using the Option (nonsubscription) have saved billions of dollars while increasing employee satisfaction and return-to-work rates. The Tennessee Option will not replace workers’ comp; instead, it will act as a competitive pressure on the system to produce better outcomes for the true stakeholders – employees and their employers.
“The Tennessee Option is a local effort driven by the bill sponsors with the support of Tennessee employers and associations. ARAWC will serve as a resource to this local group that is focused on providing a free-market alternative to workers’ compensation insurance,” said Janine Kral, President of ARAWC and Vice President of Risk Management at Nordstrom.