Average Cost of Indiana Workers’ Compensation Claims Changed Little, Says New WCRI Study

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Stable medical payments per claim, particularly prices paid for nonhospital care, were one reason for the stable costs, according to the WCRI study, CompScope™ Benchmarks for Indiana, 16th Edition. WCRI studied 17 other states and found that Indiana’s total costs per claim were fairly typical of the states studied. That result, however, masks offsetting factors.

Workers' Compensation Claims Form.

Previous WCRI studies helped put Indiana’s situation into perspective, in terms of both medical and indemnity payments. The present study adds to what we know and largely provides a baseline.

The average cost per workers’ compensation claim changed little in Indiana from 2013 to 2014, according to a new Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) study that could serve as a baseline to monitor changes to the program that went into effect in 2014.

Stable medical payments per claim, particularly prices paid for nonhospital care, were one reason for the stable costs, according to the WCRI study, CompScope™ Benchmarks for Indiana, 16th Edition. WCRI studied 17 other states and found that Indiana’s total costs per claim were fairly typical of the states studied. That result, however, masks offsetting factors.

Medical payments per claim were higher in Indiana than the typical state, for both hospital and nonhospital care. Medical costs accounted for 60 percent of total workers’ compensation costs per claim, more than in other states except Wisconsin, which was close to Indiana at 59 percent. House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1320 enacted a hospital fee schedule effective July 1, 2014, in an attempt to address the higher medical costs.

Indemnity benefits, meanwhile, were among the lowest of the 18 states studied. One contributing factor was a lower maximum weekly statutory benefit. HEA 1320 increased those benefits by 20 percent overall in three annual increments, the last occurring this year.

“Previous WCRI studies helped put Indiana’s situation into perspective, in terms of both medical and indemnity payments,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel. “The present study adds to what we know and largely provides a baseline. Future studies will help us understand what effect the reforms have.”

To purchase this report, visit http://www.wcrinet.org/studies/public/books/BMcscope_multi16_IN_book.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. Since 1983, WCRI has been a catalyst for significant improvements in workers' compensation systems around the world with its objective, credible, and high-quality research. WCRI's members include 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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Stephanie Deeley
Workers Compensation Research Institute
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