"If the state wants to make a decision to provide state money or the federal government wants to step in and provide federal dollars for those individuals, they could do that. But for them to pass a bill that requires some entity to pay these claims retroactively, that does not seem fair."
Marvin Price, an attorney representing Kenny Whitey, a severely injured worker whose medical bills are $45,000 a month, said doing nothing places the burden on the workers and employers.
"These employers didn't know they were buying insurance that wasn't up to snuff," he said, noting that all insurers are licensed and regulated by the state. "This is just an emergency measure. It’s the only solution to keep people off the welfare rolls, off the unemployment rolls and to provide them the basic medical care to help them hopefully return to the workforce.”
When SEUS failed, some employers whose injured employees had active workers' comp claims became responsible for their medical bills.
The Georgia Legislature passed a law that required all insurers to begin contributing to the fund. But it didn't cover those insurers' claims that pre-dated Jan. 1, 2008, when the law took effect.
Eighty-eight workers in Georgia, including eight so severely injured that they'll need lifetime medical care, filed claims before that date.
The insolvency pool had $136.9 million in 2008, when the most recent audit was completed. About $77 million of the amount in the pool is earmarked for workers' comp-related insurance failures.