New Study Identifies Cost Drivers in 17-State Workers’ Compensation Systems and Monitors the Impact of Reforms

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A new study, CompScope™ Benchmarks, 15th Edition, from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) examines indemnity costs, medical payments, and the cost of delivering benefits to injured workers in 17 states.

Workers' Compensation Claims Form.

The reports are designed to help policymakers and others benchmark the performance of state systems in providing benefits for injured workers.

The factors behind changing costs in state workers’ compensation systems, including the impact of legislative and regulatory reform on those costs, are examined in a new 17-state study released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

The study, CompScope™ Benchmarks, 15th Edition, separately examines indemnity costs, medical payments, and the cost of delivering benefits to injured workers in 17 states. The studies provide a baseline of current costs and trends for system stakeholders and document how payments per claim and their cost components compare and have changed from 2008 to 2013, for claims with experience through March 2014.

“The reports are designed to help policymakers and others benchmark the performance of state systems in providing benefits for injured workers,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel. “The reports also provide an excellent baseline for tracking the effects of policy changes and identifying important trends.”

The following is a sample of the key findings across the 17 states:

  •     Provisions from California Senate Bill 863 may have helped decrease medical payments per claim by 5 percent—an early impact of the reforms that was seen in 2013.
  •     Louisiana total costs per claim changed little from 2011 to 2013, following three years of 5 percent annual growth.
  •     The cost of Texas claims grew more slowly than the typical state.
  •     The average cost per claim was relatively stable in Michigan between 2009 and 2012, keeping total costs per claim among the lowest of the 17 states studied.
  •     Both medical and indemnity costs per claim in North Carolina changed little since 2009 and both had grown 8 percent annually between 2003 and 2009.

The 17 states in the study―Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin―represent nearly 60 percent of the nation’s workers’ compensation benefit payments. Separate state reports are available for 15 of the 17 study states.

For more information or to purchase copies of these studies, click on the following link: http://www.wcrinet.org/result/bmcscope_multi15_all_result.html.

The Cambridge-based WCRI is recognized as a leader in providing high quality, objective information about public policy issues involving workers' compensation systems.

ABOUT WCRI:

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which conform to recognized scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured through rigorous, unbiased peer review procedures. WCRI's diverse membership includes employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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Andrew Kenneally
Workers Compensation Research Institute
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