New CompScope™ Studies Examine Trends in 18 State Workers’ Compensation Systems After a Number of Them Enacted Reforms

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These comprehensive reference reports from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) measure the performance of 18 different state workers’ compensation systems, how they compare with each other, and how they have changed over time.

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The CompScope™ studies provide insights for state policymakers into how indemnity benefits, medical payments, and benefit delivery expenses are impacting the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim.

The economic and regulatory factors impacting the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim in 18 states are examined in a series of just-published Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) studies.

WCRI’s 2018 CompScope™ Benchmarks, 18th Edition studies analyze workers’ compensation claims data over a period of years and examine trends in the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim and the components in a given state.

“The CompScope™ studies provide insights for state policymakers into how indemnity benefits, medical payments, and benefit delivery expenses are impacting the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel.

Among the findings from the latest CompScope™ studies are these results for three states that enacted workers’ compensation reform legislation in recent years:

  • California has seen its average total cost per workers’ compensation claim remain stable after the 2013 reform legislation went into effect, and indemnity benefits per claim increased while medical payments per claim decreased.
  • Indiana had medical payments per claim stabilizing after having grown substantially before legislative reforms took effect.
  • Tennessee saw its average total cost per workers’ compensation claim decrease by 6 percent in 2015, driven by a 24 percent reduction in permanent partial disability and lump-sum benefit payments.

Virginia, another state WCRI studied, recently implemented a medical fee schedule for workers’ compensation claims. The schedule took effect on January 1, 2018, and came after the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim in Virginia increased 4.8 percent per year from 2011 to 2016, as reported in the CompScope™ study for Virginia. Louisiana is another state where the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim grew at a pace faster than in many other states, WCRI determined.

The CompScope™ study for Florida indicates that the growth in the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim has been moderate from 2011 to 2016, but notes its workers’ compensation system could face challenges in the wake of two 2016 state Supreme Court decisions that declared unconstitutional recent state laws governing Florida’s workers’ compensation system. In Illinois, the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim has grown 1 to 3 percent annually since 2012, WCRI found.

In addition to the states mentioned above, WCRI also published studies for Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. For more information about the states WCRI included in the 18th edition of its CompScope™ Benchmarks studies or to purchase copies, visit https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/compscope-benchmarks-18th-edition.

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 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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