Workcover is portrayed by the media as an undeserved benefit

bias-in-the-media-worers-comp

It is important to remember that our employers, and often all too many politicians, workcover insurers and especially the media portray our workcover system as some sort of undeserved benefit (or even a free “holiday”) that all deceptive injured workers abuse.

Workcover is portrayed by the media as an undeserved benefit

Let’s refer back to some excellent comments made by injured workers, regarding workcover and the media. As injured worker “EFFEDUPNOW” asked , [has] anyone really tried to get this [workcover abuse, stories] in the media?

The answer is simple: yes… but the media is not interested!

The media (i.e. News and related programmes such as 60 Minutes, Today Tonight, Four Corners, Dateline etc. and the news papers in particular tabloids) prefer over and over again to focus on an instance (or instances) of worker fraud in our workers’ compensation system. This, despite the fact that many (international and some national) studies show that injured worker fraud in this system is really minimal — in some states, injured worker fraud is less than 1 to 3 tenths of 1 percent of all claims;  these exposés, encouraged by irresponsible allegations from the workcover insurance industry, continue to feed the myth that workers injured on the job are frauds, cheats, and malingerers.

The media bias

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A typical national prime time television show airs shows on workcover fraud, usually opening very dramatically with footage of for example an old man working on a farm and a lawyer interviewing that same old man. And it goes something along the following lines:

Announcer: This is [programme] Wednesday, March 20th, 2014. Tonight. It’s a crime that takes money out of your pocket, it starts with a lie.
(Unidentified Lawyer) : Are you able to lift anything?
Injured old man: A cup.
Lawyer: A cup?
Injured old man: This is how I am.
Announcer: Think he’s a broken old man? Here’s what hidden cameras showed he was really doing while collecting money from you.
Maybe an IME: The man can grip. I see the legs working, I see the arms working.
Unidentified Lawyer: When you first saw that videotape of him throwing that bale of hay, what was your reaction?
Insurer maybe: I was mad.
Announcer: injured old man, with lies, ripoffs and videotape

One of the many incendiary messages in such sensationalised TV show is in the announcer’s very first line when the viewer is informed that (in this example) “money is taken right out of their pocket.” Seconds later, the announcer again informs viewers that the supposedly injured man was throwing hay bales “while collecting money from you.”

Interestingly money does not mysteriously float out of viewer’s pockets as portrayed by the sensationalized lead into such frequent TV segments!

First, money paid to workcover claims, including alleged fraudulent ones, comes directly from insurance industry profits. Only after dipping into insurer profits does the cost get passed onto employers purchasing workcover insurance (premiums). Then, the costs are spread over the entire group of mandatory policyholders; costs are not charged back to each employer dollar for dollar with their workers’ injuries. If employer premiums do increase, the employer pays for it by one or more of the following ways: taking it out of the company profits; reducing wages; and passing it on to consumers. For the smaller number of companies that choose to self-insure, they pay the claims directly rather than pay premiums for workcover insurance. Then, and only then, does it come out of the general public’s pocket IF the public chooses to purchase the specific products made by companies with high workcover rates. In neither case does money flow out of unsuspecting people’s pockets as portrayed by the insurance industry. …

Such over-sensationalised shows typically fail to mention that for example (at the time), the workcover costs were only 1.something % of payroll down from a peak of 2.something% 5 years or the year before. It also routinely fails to explain that in the past 5 years or so, workers’ compensation costs to employers decreased x% as a percentage of payroll while benefits to workers declined x%.

Instead, the announcer of such sick and twister shows will state something along the lines of… “After all, workcover fraud is very common. The industry estimates it adds up to $X billion a year.” How many of you have heard this $X billion claim before, which Unions, and even Lawyers will explain and defend.

Such allegations have absolutely no relationship to fact but are based on ‘attitudes’ and ‘perceptions’ about fraud (when for example respondents say they ‘know’ of someone supposedly on workcover even though s/he might be capable of working). Similar fabricated claims put workcover fraud at for example 20% of the total of all claims in (a state); the truth is however that suspected fraud that year, is for example three-tenths of one percent!

Anyway whether the true fraud rate is less than one-percent or as high as two-percent, it is hardly “quite common”, duh! (Off to my Soap Box).

The myth of workcover fraud

In recent years, the insurance industry’s focus on cheaters and malingerers helped push through state workers’ compensation reform, a profitable cost-cutting campaign supported by outrage over alleged abuse of the system. The problem, however, is that the fraud image is false for the vast majority of workcover cases.

Studies show that only 1 to 2 percent of workcover claims are fraudulent.

Certainly, the tens of thousands of workers killed every year were hardly aiming for a free ride on their employer’s tab!

The presumption is constantly that fraud in our workcover schemes lies with the injured workers. This is fuelled by media portrayal of ‘cheats’ in the system and the presentation of material in the public domain by employer groups, politicians (at election time) and insurers. The evidence, however, is to the contrary. The incidence and cost of fraud in the workers’ compensation schemes lie predominantly with employers and to some extent service providers.

The detection of fraud in Australian workers’ compensation schemes is focused on the more easily identifiable fraud, that of the injured worker. Employer and service provider fraud is much harder to detect and there is less incentive to eliminate such conduct as a result of the structure of the various schemes.
The pressures of injured workers being suspected as a fraud really do not assist recovery.

“Despite the claims of the insurance industry, employer groups and workers’ compensation authorities that rorts and fraud by injured workers are widespread, all official inquiries into the various workers’ compensation schemes in Australia in the last 20 years have found no cogent evidence to support claims of widespread fraud, malingering or malpractice.” (1)

How can injured workers address the media bias

We believe that the only way to address the media with regards to workcover is to write a commentary on for example each single sensationalised TV show/programme of newspaper article!

Sample letter to Media

Dear [Media Stinger],

Approximately [2 weeks ago], you broadcasted a report on fraud by an injured worker in [State]. I frankly don’t know whether or not this injured worker in fact committed fraud. I have no sympathy for injured workers who defraud the workcover [insurance] system. But what is astonishing to me is that your report/show focused on what is acknowledged by the vast majority of academic experts to be, by far, the source of the lowest amount of fraud in the workcover system. In every study that has been done on fraud in workcover, employer, insurer, and service provider fraud are found to be a dramatically greater problem than injured workers’ fraud. At a time when injured workers throughout this nation are suffering enormously from “deform” of the system driven primarily by insurance providers, your report/show/article gave a seriously skewed presentation on the problems with the system.

I certainly don’t believe you have a serious interest in what is happening to injured workers [like me], but if by chance you do, I urge you to take a look at for example [the recommendations that were made by the xxxx (an administration not particularly sympathetic to workers), then have your staff compare those recommendations to today’s reality for injured workers. We should really be deeply ashamed of what we are doing to injured workers throughout this nation.

[Or take for example my situation… explain your story…]

I wish I did not feel cynical about sending you this letter/e-mail. I am sorry that you have bitten the insurance industry bait, hook, line and sinker!

[Sincerely,]

More workcover sample letters can be found under our Useful Stuff.

Workers’ compensation is hardly the gold mine insurers, politicians and the media portray it as. Fat lawsuits and big settlements are usually completely out of the question.

When a workcovervictimsdiary tells distraught families who just lost someone in a workplace fatality that they cannot sue the employer, they are shocked.When we tell incapacitated workers that they can not obtain compensation by means of a pathetic lumpsum or common law, they are shocked.

Sometimes it takes lawyer(s) to tell these families and injured workers the same thing until they believe it! We’ve had families and severely injured workers go to 3 or 4 lawyers  until they would accept it…. depending on how angry they are.The bottom line is that in all but the most willfully negligent circumstances, injured/ill workers and their families cannot sue their employer for killing them/making them injured or ill.

Workers compensation legislation/Acts are passed by those who strongly advocated its passage and they are/were not (injured) workers, but rather the insurance industry,  business-supported groups (and political affiliates) who stand or stood to gain common law-suit immunity from injured workers; all at the expense of the injured workers..

 

 

(1) House of Representatives Inquiry into aspects of Australian workers compensation (APLA) 2002

 

[Post dictated by workcovervictim and manually transcribed on behalf of WCV]

 



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5 Responses to “Workcover is portrayed by the media as an undeserved benefit”

  1. An ancient native proverb goes:
    An old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.
    One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
    One is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
    The grandson then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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    workcovervictim3 March 20, 2014 at 9:58 am
  2. The granfather’s answer tells the full story of how tax payers’ money is wasted to benefit private interests see conflict of interest.

    How many people know that medias are “purposely” financed with tax payers’ money but in return they must obey to Government’s “instructions”?
    How many people know that before the news go public they’re scrutinised and adjusted to the wish of someone who pretends to be above the Constitution?
    It’s all about politics and power and one example is the latest ABC with its exposure of Government wrong doing.

    We are fouls to believe about free media and democracy, behind these cover words there is something else!

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    Xchangingvictim March 20, 2014 at 10:28 am
  3. With the advent of the new technologies, it is the end of stupidity, sin and madness. Which has thrived so long by a few against the many, who have made a living from the misery of others. They are the very drags of democracy. A true democracy is the greatest happiness of the greatest number which leads to productive and full employment.

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  4. Thank you for addressing my query, it gives me some more understanding.

    I find it so hard to get my head around the fact that they behave so appallingly to so many, have no regard for the legislation unless it suits them. And they just keep getting away with it. And the general public has no idea.

    Things have turned worse than even I thought possible for me & it seems that slowly, I am starting to hear stories from others about how their loved ones/or themselves have been treated by these same insurance companies.

    And like I said before they get away with it & are not held to account for it.

    When I presented their “inconsistencies” (falsified clinical panel notes) at conciliation along side the reports from my medical practitioners, they didn’t even look at me. But clearly I struck too close to the bone because my claim has now been terminated in a very unethical manner, and very quickly.

    Here’s a bit of irony for you……..because of my severe mobility issues and because I have an end date to my claim, I will be able to get assistance through public health and they will see me before I get a conciliation date. What does that say??????

    It’s a total disgrace that worksafe can collect premiums yet not help the people that need it most. And it seems that the very treatments that would help us injured workers regain our best health outcomes and have the best chance of returning to work are the ones they don’t pay for.

    Your discussion about the low percentage of fraud stands to reason. If genuinely injured workers cant get their claims accepted or medical treatment they require, how would a fraud get through.

    It burns to think the perception of the majority sees us as the problem.

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  5. Would it be fair to say that the less people that even dare lodge a workcover claim to begin with the easier it is for Workcover to stitch people up with all there dirty tricks and get away with it?

    Lets say if everyone just started lodging Workcover claims left right and centre!! Right down to the smallest of claims, would Workcovers dirty tricks and actions then become more obvious to the masses?

    Is this why Workcover is portrayed by the media as an undeserved benefit?

    Is this why doctors are hesitate to get involved? Is it why bosses and owners deter their staff from lodging Workcover claims?

    Is it why employers are punished with rate hikes and extra fees for letting staff slip through the dragnet?

    Is this why staff are petrified to lodge a claim?

    Is this why they try to completely turn each applicant into a headcase to further spread the negative psychology and scare the rest of the herd further into oblivion until there are that little people on Workcover and no more applying for it, leaving the path wide open for them to then completely abolish this right all together for all eternity stripping away another one of our rights????

    Is this a Huge reverse psychology tactic by Workcover and their Insurance Company Friends? the less in the system the easier it is to manipulate? “ABOLISH”

    To answer the question that dozens and dozens of people keep asking here about exposing them!!! well……….here goes……………

    If every person and their dog lodges a claim no matter how minor or large it is the stats of their dirty behaviour will quickly mount once the whole workforce becomes educated of their non insured fate if they are injured at work the masses will rise and they will get their long yearned exposure will come swift and just!! Government forced to act.

    I am here today to spread this idea and i beg anyone who reads this message to pass it on far and wide immediately!!

    Encourage anyone to lodge their Workcover claims regardless of the consequences!!

    Lets look at it this way what is the worst thing that is going to happen they will ruin your name…life….more..Well… So What!” Big fucking deal.”…

    will it matter anyway No….

    this is just another psychological attack on the masses…

    take for example the utility companies who are now going to wreck your name if you don’t pay your bills within 5 days of their demands regardless of your situation are you starting to read the big picture now???

    these criminals which is all they are they are a minority that have hijacked the system and are playing psychological warfare with everyone it is time to break the chains these people are going to wreck your names regardless of who you are how honestly you conduct yourself They do not care…..they are Joyriding our system.

    If everyone starts lodging Workcover claims in the masses their corruption is going to be exposed very quickly and implode on them.

    the government will be exposed for the part they are taking in this system and they will be in the spotlight and forced to act.

    How dare they say your claim is dismissed! or you are not entitled to have your claim accepted that its straining the system and sending the country broke “BULLSHIT”

    mean while this criminal minority who have hijacked the system once again are just taking what “hey want unquestioned not even a murmur and no one is even voicing up about it,

    we all pay our taxes etc Workcover is a public right this system is dictating to us now!

    How dare they lie and how stupid are people being scared of these Dictators

    Spread the word people start lodging

    Lets push this system to breaking point!!!!!

    Have an inspirational Weekend readers and lets start making bumper stickers anyone interested in helping making some slogans printing getting them out there on the backs of cars etc???

    We all need to act fast they are raging a psychological war against us.

    Respond below lets do this!!!!

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