Cambridge, MA, October 12, 2023 — A new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found that total costs per claim with more than seven days of lost time in Delaware decreased in 2020 and then increased in 2021 (claims evaluated as of March 2022). Changes in the availability of medical services and economic conditions were the main factors behind the 2020 and 2021 findings.
“In the early months of the pandemic, medical facilities were closed and hospitals stopped performing elective surgeries and surgical procedures. In addition, some workers with injuries may have avoided medical treatment due to stay-at-home orders and fear of contracting COVID-19 in a health care setting. Labor shortages, especially in the health care sector, may have hampered access to needed medical care in some areas,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI president and CEO.
The study, Trends in the Delaware Workers’ Compensation System, 2016–2021, is the third annual report examining key performance metrics of the Delaware workers’ compensation benefit delivery system. The analysis covers total claim costs, medical payments, indemnity benefits, disability duration, benefit delivery expenses, and other metrics. It analyzes how these metrics of system performance have changed over time from 2016 to 2021 (at various claim maturities) with payments made through March 2022.
The following are among the study’s key findings:
- Changes in the components of total costs per claim in 2020–2021 may reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; these changes followed a long-term decrease in total costs per claim.
- Medical payments per claim decreased in 2020 and then increased in 2021, reflecting utilization changes during the pandemic; prices for professional services have been fairly stable since 2017.
- Wages of workers with injuries and duration of temporary disability increased in 2020 and 2021 following small changes in prior years.
The data used for this report exclude COVID-19 claims, for which the nature or cause of injury was COVID-19. Other WCRI research examined fee schedule changes and included Delaware in price and prescription drug benchmarking studies. 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.
To learn more about this study or to download a copy, visit https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/trends-in-the-delaware-workers-compensation-system-2016-2021. 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.