Cambridge, MA, Nov. 10, 2022―The average medical payment per claim decreased 4 percent in Michigan for 2020 injuries with experience through March 2021, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). This reflects factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the earlier period from 2015 to 2019, medical payments per claim grew 4 percent per year.

“The recent decreases in medical payments per claim in Michigan and many other states reflect some impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the temporary suspension of certain outpatient procedures and treatments during the early part of the pandemic, as well as the avoidance of certain types of care by workers’ compensation patients,” said Ramona Tanabe, executive vice president and counsel for WCRI.

The following are among the study’s other findings:

  • Prices paid and utilization of professional services have been mostly stable since 2015, including small changes in 2020.
  • The percentage of claims with certain nonhospital and hospital services decreased in 2020, which may reflect, in part, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Medical payments per claims were lower in Michigan compared with other states, which could in part be due to price regulation measures.
  • The percentage of claims with prescription drugs continued to decrease in Michigan in 2020/2021, while the average prescription payment per claim with prescriptions grew.

The study, CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks for Michigan, 23rd Edition, examined medical payments, prices, and utilization for various types of medical services in Michigan and compared them with 17 other states. It also examined how these metrics of medical payments and care have changed, mainly for injuries from 2015 to 2020. Since the report reflects experience on claims through March 2021, it provides a look at how the pandemic may have impacted non-COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims in the early months of the pandemic.

Click here to learn more about this study or to purchase a copy. William Monnin-Browder authored this study.

About WCRI

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.


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