Cambridge, MA, Sept. 14, 2022 — A new report from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found the average medical payment per claim (regardless of the claim maturity and claim base [all claims or lost-time claims]) decreased about 33 percent between 2014 and 2017 in Delaware, which was the main goal of House Bill (HB) 373.
“In 2014, Delaware passed HB 373, which made changes to the workers’ compensation medical reimbursement system. This report examines the performance of the Delaware workers’ compensation system after the 2014 statutory changes. The goals of the reforms were primarily to reduce medical costs, create a workers’ compensation system that is more efficient, and make Delaware an attractive place for businesses,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI executive vice president and counsel.
The study, Trends in the Delaware Workers’ Compensation System, 2015–2020, 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 2015 to 2020 (at various claim maturities) with payments made through March 2021. The report also discusses the impact of COVID-19 on workers’ compensation claims in the early months of the pandemic in 2020.
The following are among the study’s key findings:
- Total costs per claim continued to decrease after 2017 following a series of medical fee schedule reductions (which were the focus of the 2014 legislation).
- Medical payments per claim decreased in 2020 due to utilization, which may reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Indemnity benefits per claim were mostly stable 2015–2020. In 2020, wages of workers with injuries and duration of temporary disability increased, which may reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Benefit delivery expenses per claim decreased overall, depending on maturity, 2015–2020.
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 www.wcrinet.org/reports/trends-in-the-delaware-workers-compensation-system-20152022. 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.