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You are here: Home . bulletins . 2017 . b-0042-17

Commissioner's Bulletin # B-0042-17

December 11, 2017


To: ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES, CORPORATIONS, EXCHANGES, MUTUALS, RECIPROCALS, ASSOCIATIONS, LLOYDS, OR OTHER INSURERS WRITING WORKERS’ COMPENATION AND EMPLOYERS’ LIABILITY INSURANCE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS AND TO AGENTS AND REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PUBLIC GENERALLY AND ALL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SYSTEM PARTICIPANTS


Re: Hurricane Harvey – an extraordinary event: Workers’ compensation issues concerning hurricane victims or evacuees

Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster proclamation of August 23, 2017 that was amended on August 26, 27, and 28, and September 14 to extend the state of disaster declaration to additional counties. This proclamation has since been extended several times. 

In accordance with the proclamation, on August 29, 2017 TDI-DWC issued Commissioner’s Bulletin No. B-0020-17.  The bulletin required insurance carriers to continue to process and pay workers’ compensation claims and tolled (paused) deadlines for specified workers’ compensation procedures involving system participants who reside in the counties listed in the Governor’s disaster proclamation. 

Having determined that it is now practical and in the best interests of the workers’ compensation system to resume normal claims processing and dispute resolution operations, NOTICE IS GIVEN that tolling of deadlines for workers’ compensation procedures specified in Bulletin No. B-0020-17 will be lifted, effective January 10, 2018.  On this date, all standard workers’ compensation deadlines and procedures will go back into effect.  

The effect of the lifting of the tolling period means that the “clock” for completing a procedure or making a required filing will resume “ticking” on the effective date the tolling period is lifted.  Although the tolling period is lifted effective January 10, 2018, it is the continuing expectation of TDI-DWC that insurance carriers will continue to provide efficient and timely services to injured employees, health care providers, and policyholders and not extend medical and income benefit payment timeframes unless the extension is absolutely necessary.

To illustrate:  If the one-year period for filing a particular workers’ compensation claim, for a claimant residing in a Texas county affected by the proclamation, began on July 1, 2017, then 59 days had elapsed before Bulletin No. B-0020-17 was issued tolling that deadline. Therefore, when the “clock” starts to run, again, for meeting that one-year claim filing deadline in this example 306 days would remain for the workers’ compensation claimant to file the claim. [365 days minus 59 days = 306 days] Similarly, if a medical service was provided on September 1, 2017, the 95-day billing deadline would begin to run on January 10, 2018, the day the tolling period will be lifted.  All other deadlines, including the 90 day finality rule will be treated in the same manner.

Key contact information:

  • Workers’ Compensation Claims & Customer Services, 800-252-7031:
    • questions related to rescheduling a benefit review conference or a contested case hearing
    • other questions related to the disaster
  • Managed Care Quality Assurance Office, 866-554-4926 or MCQA@tdi.texas.gov:
    • questions related to workers’ compensation health care networks

 

 

This supersedes any prior bulletin.

 

 

Ryan Brannan

Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation

Texas Department of Insurance-Division of Workers’ Compensation



For more information contact:

Last updated: 12/11/2017

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