September 14, 2016
Court Decision. The Oklahoma Supreme Court decided yesterday, in a split decision, to strike down the Oklahoma Option to workers’ compensation. The court’s decision in Vasquez v. Dillard’s is based entirely on Oklahoma’s unique constitution. The court chose not to consider the facts of Ms. Vasquez’ claim. For more information on that claim, see this letter from an experienced Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorney.
New Oklahoma Option Performance Report. Today, the Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation (ARAWC) issued a new “Oklahoma Option Performance Report”. Despite the new court ruling, the Oklahoma Option has achieved all of its original objectives:
- More Competition is Good
- Employer Cost Savings
- Fewer Employee Disputes
- Better Benefits For Most Employees
This aggregate performance data is straight-forward and impressive.
Transition Plan. In anticipation of the possibility of this court decision, we – with regulatory input – worked this summer to develop well-defined contingency and transition plans for employers to return to the Oklahoma workers’ compensation system. The PartnerSource team and others are now assisting employers and their insurance brokers with each step in that process.
Path Forward. The Court provided some guidance for a possible legislative fix to the Oklahoma Option. If employers and legislators in Oklahoma and other states find ARAWC’s Option performance report compelling, the pursuit of new Option laws will continue. The results of this two-year experiment in Oklahoma appear to be concrete confirmation that the meaningful successes achieved through the Texas alternative to workers’ compensation can be exported to other states.