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With the nation’s legislative landscape dominated by health care reform and relatively stable workers’ compensation rates in 2010, workers’ compensation fell off the radar screen. However, a more careful review points to challenging times in the years ahead. Here are 11 issues that bear watching.

1.  Declines in frequency of claims slowingAccording to insurers, the long-term trend of declining claims frequency (claims filed per employer payroll) is flattening. This is significant because declining trends that started in 1991 have helped counter rising medical costs driven by the severity of claims and increased utilization. It’s too early to determine the reasons or permanency of the shift, and it could be a temporary blip caused by employers cutting back on safety initiatives. On the other hand, a strengthening job market could mean hiring employees who are less experienced and more prone to injuries.

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