Cambridge, MA, November 18, 2021 — Today, the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) released the first edition of an annual report on measures of the Delaware workers’ compensation system.
“In 2014, Delaware passed House Bill (HB) 373, which made changes to the workers’ compensation medical payment system. This report examines the Delaware system performance after the 2014 statutory changes. Several other pieces of legislation related to medical care were passed between 2007 and 2013. The goals of the reforms were primarily to reduce medical costs, create a workers’ compensation system that is more efficient, and make Delaware a more attractive place for businesses,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI executive vice president and counsel.
The study, An Overview of the Delaware Workers’ Compensation System and the Effects of the 2014 Reforms, examines total claim costs, medical payments, indemnity benefits, disability duration, benefit delivery expenses, timeliness of benefit payments to workers, and other metrics. It analyzes how these metrics of system performance have changed over time from 2014 to 2019 (at various claim maturities) with payments made through March 2020. The following are among the study’s key findings:
- Total costs per claim decreased 2014–2019 (claims at 12–60 months of experience) due to a series of medical fee schedule reductions—a focus of the 2014 legislation.
- Medical payments per claim decreased about 33 percent between 2014 and 2017, similar to the reform goal.
- Prescription drug payments per claim and utilization decreased 2014–2019.
- Indemnity benefits per claim were mostly stable, reflecting growth in wages of workers with injuries and a decrease in duration of temporary disability.
Findings from other WCRI studies are included to provide a more complete picture of the Delaware system and to supply historical context for key metrics. The report includes experience on claims through March 2020, at the very beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so it provides a pre-COVID-19 baseline for evaluating the impact of the virus on workers’ compensation claims.
To learn more about this study or to download a copy, visit https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/an-overview-of-the-delaware-workers-compensation-system-and-the-effects-of-the-2014-reforms The author of this report is Evelina Radeva.
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.