Columbia, SC – South Carolina state representative David Hiott, small business owner and Chairman of House Agriculture committee, recently introduced legislation (H.4197) to create the South Carolina Option to workers’ compensation. Fellow legislators Rep. Bill Sandifer, Chairman of House Labor, Commerce, and Industry committee, and Rep. Craig Gagnon, a small businessman, are cosponsoring the bill with Hiott.
The South Carolina-specific Option legislation has comparable benefit levels to the current South Carolina workers’ compensation system. The key components of the Option are: employee accountability, medical management, employee-employer engagement, and free-market competition. Representative Hiott sees his South Carolina Option approach as the best solution for the state.
“I firmly believe that markets operate best and participants receive the most benefit possible when competition exists. The South Carolina Option will provide businesses an alternative way to provide occupational injury benefits to their employees,” said Chairman David Hiott. “The Option will also require high benefits levels, which is a win for hardworking South Carolina workers.”
The South Carolina Option will not replace workers’ comp; instead, it will act as a competitive pressure on the system to produce better outcomes for the primary stakeholder in the process – the employee. Texas and Oklahoma currently allow similar optional alternative injury benefit plans. Experience in both those states shows a significant reduction in cost for businesses, faster access to benefits for employees, and an enhanced injury resolution process that results in improved outcomes for employees.
“The Option has never been about reducing benefits to injured workers. Instead, it is about a more streamlined process to deliver those benefits,” said ARAWC Executive Director Richard Evans. “It is reasonable for South Carolina to mandate Option benefits comparable to those required under workers’ comp, combined with the same liability protections employers receive under workers’ comp. We expect the South Carolina Option to provide improved outcomes for injured workers while generating substantial savings for employers inside and outside the workers’ comp system.”