Kicking the tyres at ACC

Written By: - Date published: 4:23 pm, October 18th, 2009 - 14 comments
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The Sunday Star-Times details hitherto secret proposals from the John Judge-chaired ACC to cut back entitlements and increase user-pays. The hidden agenda:

  • Introduce a $100 excess on every claim.
  • Reduce income compensation from 80% to 70% after one year and 60% after two.
  • Impose a two-year limit on compensation for soft tissue injuries, such as back pain.
  • Introduce wider surveillance powers for ACC investigators to stamp out fraud.
  • Legislate to make it easier to get workers back to work.

What is interesting about the story is that further detail is provided by “an insurance source.” We may assume that the industry source is also the source of the leak.

These changes are exactly the sort of thing the insurance industry would want in place to make ACC ready for profitable privatisation. It looks like talks may already be under way.

14 comments on “Kicking the tyres at ACC”

  1. gitmo 1

    Don’t have a problem with the excess as it would certainly make people think twice about whether it was necessary to claim. The income reduction after time seems odd as it not the standard practice in private schemes I have been involved with which have been 80% through to death.

    I can’t see why anyone would have a problem with ACC fraud being clamped down on or making it easier to get people up and active again as soon as practicable.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Don’t have a problem with the excess as it would certainly make people think twice about whether it was necessary to claim.

      That in itself is the problem – the population, instead of going to the doctor, just gets sicker over time reducing productivity and increasing the costs in the health service.

      I can’t see why anyone would have a problem with ACC fraud being clamped down on

      It gets to the point where chasing the bad guys costs more than it’s worth.

      or making it easier to get people up and active again as soon as practicable.

      That’s already policy. The legislation seems more to get people to work before they’re ready and likely to cause even more damage – see my first point.

    • Ron 1.2

      So you’re ok with the injured worker going back to work with an injury to either:
      worsen it and become more of burden and less productive later
      or
      put their workmates in danger through trying to work with an untreated injury.
      ACC is no fault system – that’s its beauty. It isn’t in trouble, it isn’t in debt, leave it alone.

  2. dave 2

    I have a bit of a problem with an excess imposed on a no-fault scheme.

    • gitmo 2.1

      Good points Dave I think your reasoning is quite right, personally I’d like to see the work accounts opened up to some competition.

      In relation to the no fault component I think this is both one of the greatest strengths and weaknesses of ACC – buggered if I know how you address it but I’d be fascinated in your opinion if you’ve worked in the insurance industry.

  3. handle 3

    Good analysis, Dave. It seems like the usual tactic of floating the nuttier ideas so that privatising the profitable work account seems like a sensible thing to do instead. If they renege on the social contract basis of ACC, will they return the right to sue?
    captcha: desperate

  4. Craig Glen Eden 4

    Acc is actually working well. The silly thing is you guys are taking the bait and doing exactly what National hoped, believing the system needs some major change it does not. Wake up the Tories are lying again to sell off Acc so their mates can gouge us.

    Key is a sellout, a bloody disgrace.

    • toad 4.1

      Agreed, Craig GE.

      As with all schemes, it needs minor tweaking from time to time, and it does have a few problems at the moment.

      But the real agenda from National here is that it has $10.6 billion in assets, and they want their wealthy mates to get their hands on some of that. So paint a picture so bad that they can get away with that.

      It will make what Fay-Richwhite did to the railways fade into insignificance if they do get away with it.

      Let us make sure they don’t.

  5. handle 5

    I agree. The only change the system needs is for the hollow men to get their hands off it. That aint going to happen without a credible opposition though. Who would think I’d be agreeing with gingercrush: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/spin-busting-acc-rises/#comment-165341

  6. Michael Over Here 6

    Fine, if we’re going to start gutting ACC then I want my no-fault society rights changed so that I can sue guilty parties for the difference.

  7. BLiP 7

    The privatisation of ACC has been part of National Ltd®s agenda since before 1998. We only have the word of the Sunday Star Times that it was an “insurance source”. More likely its a government source using a friendly, foreign-owned media multinational to run a flag up the mast and see who shoots at it.

  8. Jim McDonald 8

    The expression in the title (‘Kicking the tyres” ..) caught my attention.

    When I last heard the phrase used by politicians, it was by Nat front bench in relation to MMP.

    Seems to me some of us should step back and think before encouraging it to circulate in more common and mindless use, idiomatically and metaphorically catchy it might be.

    => If you’re buying a car, what and how much would kicking the tyres really tell you?

  9. John A 9

    Good point Jim – Kicking the tyres is usually a prelude to a sale. I should have pointed that out,

  10. vidiot 10

    I have no issues with an excess being charged on ACC claims, as long as it’s one excess per ‘claim’.

    My wife recently had to visit an Ostepath to get her neck corrected (a one off visit) – if it was to be part-covered by ACC the doctors charge was reduced by $10 over a non-ACC claim.

    So one does wonder how much of a paper war (& expense) would would have gone on for a $10 claim.

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