Cambridge, MA, April 18, 2023 – A new series of 14 studies from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found medical payments per claim decreased while indemnity benefits per claim continued to grow in 2020 and 2021 in many states, likely reflecting the impact of changes in economic conditions and usage of medical care during the early COVID-19 pandemic period.
“Growth in wages was a key driver of the trend in indemnity benefits per claim,” said Ramona Tanabe, executive vice president and general counsel of WCRI. “The average weekly wages of workers with injuries grew faster in service-providing industries during the pandemic, and there was a shift in the share of claims from the lower-wage to the middle-wage category since 2019 in most study states.”
Duration of temporary disability (TD) was another factor underlying the indemnity trend. Most study states experienced decreasing or stable TD durations in 2021 after increases in 2020.
The following are sample findings for some of the study states:
- Florida: Total costs per claim in Florida remained stable in 2020 and 2021, a change of pattern from the previous moderate growth from 2016 to 2019.
- Illinois: The average total cost per claim in Illinois changed little between 2019 and 2021 due to small increases in indemnity benefits per claim offset by decreases in medical payments per claim.
- Massachusetts: Indemnity benefits per claim in Massachusetts decreased 7 percent in 2021 following a sizeable increase in the previous year.
- Texas: The trends in indemnity components in Texas differed between 2016 and 2021, though wages of workers with injuries grew more than 3 percent.
- Virginia: Medical payments per claim in Virginia at 12 months of maturity decreased 5.6 percent between 2019 and 2020 and 7.9 percent between 2020 and 2021.
CompScope™ Benchmarks, 23rd Edition provides ongoing annual monitoring of how indemnity benefits, medical payments, and benefit delivery expenses in 17 states compare and how they have changed over time. The 17 states in the study are Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. There are individual reports for every state except Arkansas, Iowa, and Tennessee.
For more information on these studies, visit WCRI’s website at https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/compscope-benchmarks-23rd-edition.
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.