What is Comcare?
Comcare is a National system of occupational health and safety and compensation established under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (SRC Act). The scheme administers the Commonwealth statutory requirement for rehabilitation and compensation in all Australian states or territories.
Comcare has functions and responsibilities under both the SRC Act and the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act). Under these legislations, Comcare serves as insurer, regulator and scheme manager. The scheme provides employers with an integrated safety, rehabilitation and compensation system regardless of the state or territory they operate in or where their employees are located.
What is WorkCover?
WorkCover, on the other hand, is a compulsory insurance for all employers in every state and territory in Australia and provides protection to workers in the event of a work-related injury or illness. WorkCover administers the compensation under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act and provides employees with insurance for loss of income, medical costs and loss of capacity due to a work-related injury or illness.
The key differences:
So what is the difference between Comcare and WorkCover? They are very similar but there are some important differences, these include;
1. Comcare is no typical insurer
More than covering employees, Comcare works with employers, employees and other stakeholders to consistently improve work health and safety and to improve return to work and recovery at work options. In addition, Comcare users only have a single workers compensation system and are accountable to one regulator for reporting. For corporations, this can result in a huge reduction in compliance costs compared to WorkCover.
Comcare delegates duties to rehabilitation case managers (current or former employers). The delegated RCMs have the prerogative to perform the functions and exercise the powers of the regulatory authority. They approve costs and services prior to commencement and also typically assist employees with both compensable and non-compensable injuries. The delegation increases flexibility with the service provision within Comcare.
3. Record keeping and documentation
Both record keeping and documentation vary between Comcare and WorkCover. The schemes use different templates with Comcare requiring Providers to maintain prescribed records for seven years. In addition, Comcare allows information to be recorded electronically in real time; resulting in faster, specialized care with minimal paperwork.
4. National legislation
Originally established to cover public sector employees, Comcare expanded into the private sector to cover licensed corporations in all states and territories. Under Comcare, businesses pick up Commonwealth OHS legislation and their employees no longer have the protections of state and territory OHS and workers compensation laws.
5. Billing codes/invoices and payments
The amount charged by Comcare reflects on the forecast claims from injuries and diseases in the premium year. Comcare sets a ‘premium pool’ to fully fund the predicated claims costs as well as the claims management costs and GST.
If you are self-insured under Comcare, the amount you pay will depend on the premium pool. It responds to your agency’s claims performance, as well as trends in claims performance across the whole scheme and may vary from year to year.
What to consider when choosing your scheme?
Occupational health and safety requirements differ from one organization to another. Before you settle for a WHS scheme, here are the factors you should consider.
- Nature of your business
- Jurisdictions you work across
- Your workforce
- Demographics of claims received
For more information on workers compensations, you can contact us here. Alternatively, our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 (647 789).
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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