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KEMPER EXECUTIVE TESTIFIES BEFORE LEGISLATORS GATHERING ON COORDINATION OF WORKERS COMPENSATION SYSTEM INTO NATIONAL HEALTH CARE PROGRAM

 WASHINGTON, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A Kemper National Insurance Companies executive today will tell a gathering of state legislators that integrating the medical portion of the workers compensation system into the general health care plan would be a mistake -- but that coordinating the systems could help contain medical costs paid by workers compensation insurance.
 Michael F. Dineen, Kemper National's vice president - federal relations, testifies this afternoon before the Life & Health Insurance Committee of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators in Washington, D.C. NCOIL is an organization of state legislators who serve on insurance-related committees.
 In his prepared remarks, Dineen notes that there are "deep differences" between general medical care and workers compensation. "The goal in workers compensation is to quickly heal and return injured workers to their jobs. And, in some cases, that requires more intensive treatment -- and greater medical expenses -- than normal," he says.
 "The payoff comes in workers who make fuller and faster recoveries, so they can return to work sooner than they would have under a standard treatment program," Dineen notes. "Under an integrated approach, however, there would be no incentive to tailor medical programs for injured workers. That would undoubtedly lead to more people on disability for longer periods of time."
 Dineen tells of one Kemper National workers compensation insured who underwent surgery to correct a tearing of the cartilage under the knee. Soon after the surgery, Kemper National assigned a health care coordinator to the case, who maintained contact with the employee, physician's office, physical therapist, insured and the claim adjuster. The health care coordinator recommended a return-to-work program and continued physical therapy. That got the employee back to work just eight weeks after his surgery. That was, according to Dineen, a quicker recovery than would have been possible under a standard treatment program.
 "An example like this makes me think that integrating workers compensation into an overall health care plan -- at least such as one resembling one of those rumored to be proposed -- would be a mistake," Dineen testifies.
 Dineen instead says that the medical portion of workers compensation should be coordinated with, instead of integrated into, the general health care plan. That, he says, would allow workers compensation insurers to intensify their use of the same managed care techniques currently used by medical insurers.
 The Kemper National executive notes that such cost containment techniques allowed Kemper National to save its policyholders more than $128 million in 1992 by computer-auditing medical bills and taking other medical-management actions in those states that allow them.
 Dineen also testifies that another concern with an integrated approach is that it could lead to lax safety at some companies. "Under an integrated approach -- without distinction between occupational and non-occupational medical care -- all types of insurance claims would be lumped together. Employers with good workplace safety records would end up subsidizing employers with poor ones."
 Noting that the number of work-related deaths reached a record low in 1991, Dineen says, "We certainly don't want to do anything that would encourage the reversal of that trend."
 Dineen also says that insurers' coordination of vocational rehabilitation programs would be difficult under an integrated approach and that questions remain about how deductibles or co-payments would be treated.
 Saying he is anxious to see the administration's health care plan, Dineen adds, "I hope those who are drafting it -- and those who have the voice to shape the final bill -- understand that workers compensation is a system of care that includes much more than doctors and medicine. Integrating it into the general health care system could hurt workers and their employers."
 Kemper National, with 1992 sales of $3.1 billion, operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and many foreign markets.
 -0- 7/14/93
 /CONTACT: Kevin E. Barber, public relations director of Kemper National, 708-540-2410/
 (KEM)


CO: Kemper National Insurance Companies ST: District of Columbia, Illinois IN: INS SU:

GK-MG -- NY060 -- 1479 07/14/93 13:54 EDT
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Date:Jul 14, 1993
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