Filed Under:Risk Management, Loss Control

WCRI: Medical Costs Per Workers' Comp Claim Rising Fast in Virginia

NU Online News Service, Feb. 2, 3:46 p.m. EST

Medical costs per workers’ compensation claim with more than seven days of lost time are rising faster in Virginia than in other states that were part of a 16-state study, according to the Worker Compensation Research Institute.

But overall costs per claim in Virginia were close to the median of the study states.

Additionally, insurance-premium rates in the state were 32 percent lower than the median of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

“Broad metrics of workers’ compensation costs show that Virginia is a lower-cost state largely due to a lower frequency of claims,” WCRI says in a statement on the report, “Benchmarks for Virginia, CompScope 12th Edition.”

The WCRI study says medical costs per claim with more than seven days of lost time in Virginia were 22 percent higher than the median of the 16 states in the study. 

The medical-cost increase was the main driver in the 8 percent increase per year in overall costs per claim from 2004 to 2009.

The overall costs per workers’ compensation claim in Virginia was close to the median of the study states, in part because fewer workers there had more than one week off work.  As a result, cases in which workers received indemnity benefits -- payments for lost wages -- were less frequent.

The study also found:

  • Vocational rehabilitation was used more often inVirginiathan most of the other wage-loss states.
  • Benefit delivery expenses per claim for medical cost containment services and litigation related activities were typical in Virginia compared to the study states.

The WCRI study states are California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

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