Cambridge, MA, April 15, 2021 – Total costs per claim with more than seven days of lost time in California have been mostly stable since 2010, according to a study published by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). In 2019, the most recent year of the study period, total costs per claim increased moderately.

“The increase in total costs per claim in 2019 was largely driven by a 6 percent increase in indemnity benefits per claim. Over the earlier period from 2015 to 2018, indemnity benefits per claim had remained fairly stable,” said Ramona Tanabe, executive vice president and general counsel of WCRI.

The study, CompScope™ Benchmarks for California, 21st Edition, found that several factors contributed to the growth in indemnity benefits per claim in 2019. The average weekly wage of workers with injuries grew 4 percent, the average duration of temporary disability benefits increased 2 percent, and the average permanent partial disability (PPD)/lump-sum payment per PPD/lump-sum claim increased 8 percent.

The following are among the study’s other findings:

  • California total costs per all paid claims were higher compared with other study states, at about 30 percent higher than the median study state.
  • Indemnity benefits per claim for claims with more than seven days of lost time were higher compared with the other study states, which reflects several system features.
  • Medical payments per claim with more than seven days of lost time have been stable in California since 2015, following decreases of 2–7 percent per year after the implementation of Senate Bill 863.
  • California benefit delivery expenses per claim were among the highest of the 18 study states, and were stable or decreased after 2015.

CompScope™ Benchmarks is an annual study that compares the performance of state workers’ compensation systems in California as compared with 17 other states. The report focuses on costs, income benefits, overall medical payments, use of benefits, duration of temporary disability, frequency and payments of PPD/lump-sum claims, benefit delivery expenses, litigiousness, timeliness of payments, and other performance metrics. The study also examines how these system performance metrics have changed, primarily from 2014 to 2019 for claims at various claim maturities.

To learn more about this study or to purchase a copy, visit 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 late 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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