In the wake of the healthcare-reform law, cost shifting ofnon-work-related injuries to the workers' compensation remains apotential issue, and potential stress on the healthcare systemcould lead to delays and drive workers' comp costs up, says brokerMarsh in a briefing.

But the law's focus on improvements in standards of care couldreduce the use of costly procedures that produce questionableresults, and employers could see premium refunds if they maintainbetter-than-expected performance in their healthcare programs,Marsh says.

In its analysis, “Health Care Reform and Workers' CompensationPrograms,” Marsh says, “Employers have long been concerned thatinjuries from non-work-related causes will be shifted to workers'compensation” due to higher reimbursement rates for medicalproviders and the lack of deductibles and co-payments foremployees. While some speculated that the greater access to healthinsurance under the Affordable Care Act would reduce cost shiftingto workers' comp, Marsh says it has “become clear that the law willnot result in all Americans having health-insurance coverage.”

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