COSTS PER CLAIM FOR INJURED WORKERS IN VIRGINIA
THAN MOST STATES AND RISING FASTER, SAYS NEW STUDY
November 12, 2012—
The cost per
claim for medical care for injured workers in Virginia was
higher than in most states and growing faster, according to
a new study, Benchmarks for Virginia, CompScope™ 13th
Edition, by the Workers Compensation Research Institute
“The study will help policymakers and other
stakeholders understand how the Virginia workers’
compensation system measures up with other states and serves
as an invaluable tool in making system improvements,” said
Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s Deputy Director and Counsel.
The study reported that medical costs per
claim with more than seven days of lost time in Virginia
rose 8 percent per year from 2005 to 2010 (evaluated in
2011). Between 2008 and 2010, those costs showed an
acceleration; by contrast, most of the 16 states in the
study showed little change or a decrease in costs per claim
from 2009 to 2010. Higher and rising prices mainly drove
medical costs per claim in the state, which were 25 percent
higher than those in the median study state.
In spite of the higher medical costs per
claim, the overall cost per workers’ compensation claim in
Virginia (including claims with income benefit payments and
claims with only medical payments) was close to the median
of the study states. That result occurred, in part, because
fewer workers in Virginia had more than one week off work.
Therefore, cases in which workers received indemnity
benefits—payments for lost
wages—were less frequent.
The study also reported that income benefits
per claim in Virginia were fairly typical of the 16 study
states. Those benefits were 6 percent higher than in the
median study state. Income benefit costs per claim rose an
average of 5 percent per year from 2005 to 2010.
Among the study’s other findings
It took longer for
workers to receive their first income
benefits compared with the other states, likely a result
of the lack of statutory timeframe requiring payment or
denial of a claim.
limit on benefits of 500 weeks in Virginia contributed
to the lower average lump-sum settlement than in most of
the other wage-loss states.
expenses per claim were typical of the study states.
For more information about this study or how
to purchase it, click on the following link:
The Workers Compensation Research Institute
(WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research
organization based in Cambridge, MA. Founded in 1983, WCRI
is recognized as a leader in providing high-quality,
objective information about public policy issues involving
workers' compensation systems. 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.