Cambridge, MA, August 17, 2023 – A new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found that 6 percent of workers with COVID-19 developed long COVID, and many of these workers continued receiving medical care a year after their infections. This study expands prior evidence from early in the pandemic, showing persistent rates of long COVID for infections through 2021.
“Our main takeaways for workers’ compensation policymakers and stakeholders are that long COVID continued to affect a meaningful share of workers with COVID-19 infections, and that was an important driver of claim costs,” said Ramona Tanabe, President and CEO of WCRI. “Among all workers with COVID-19 claims, 6 percent received treatment for long COVID conditions, some more than a year after the initial infection. At an average of 18 months of post-infection experience, these workers received more than 20 weeks of temporary disability benefits and received about $29,000 in medical care.”
The study, Long COVID in the Workers' Compensation System in 2020 and 2021, provides insights into workers’ recoveries from COVID-19. The study addresses the following questions:
- What is the prevalence of long COVID among workers with COVID-19?
- What are the costs of long COVID claims?
- What is the duration of temporary disability benefits among workers with long COVID?
- What are the industry and worker characteristics associated with long COVID?
- How do rates of long COVID vary across states?
The analysis includes COVID-19 cases reported with a date of infection between March 2020 and September 2021. For each claim, we collected information on medical care and income benefits that were provided through the end of March 2022, across 31 states.
For more information about this report or to download a copy, visit https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/long-covid-in-the-workers-compensation-system-in-2020-and-2021. The report was authored by Dr. Bogdan Savych.
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.