Cambridge, MA, April 25, 2017—Income benefits paid to Indiana’s injured workers through workers’ compensation claims rose nearly 5 percent between 2014 and 2015, a Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) study found.
“The recent increase in Indiana’s indemnity benefits per claim may partly reflect the income benefit provisions of 2013’s House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1320, which phased in annual indemnity benefit increases over a three-year period beginning on July 1, 2014,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel. “The growth was in contrast to the trends in earlier years when indemnity benefits were fairly stable.”
Indiana’s maximum statutory weekly indemnity benefit has risen 20 percent—to $780 from $650—since June 30, 2014. These indemnity benefits are generally paid to those who qualify for either temporary total disability (TTD) or permanent partial (PP) impairment. In Indiana, PP is paid to compensate an injured worker for a permanent loss of a physical function, typically known as permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits in other states. The legislation also increased the PP dollars paid based on the impairment rating.
The study, CompScope™ Benchmarks for Indiana, 17th Edition, compared Indiana with workers’ compensation systems in 17 other states and found that, despite the recent increase, Indiana’s indemnity benefits per claim remained among the lowest of WCRI’s 18 study states.
“One in six injured workers in Indiana had their weekly benefits limited by the statutory maximum indemnity payout as of 2015 (mostly reflecting the first of the three benefit increases), compared with about one in nine workers in the typical study state,” said Tanabe. “In Indiana, an injured worker is much more likely to hit the statutory cap.”
For the study, WCRI analyzed workers’ compensation claims with experience through 2016 for injuries up to and including 2015.
The following are among the study’s other findings:
- Indiana’s costs per claim were fairly stable from 2010 to 2015, with slower growth than in many study states.
- Costs per claim in Indiana were fairly typical of the study states, resulting from offsetting factors―higher medical payments per claim but lower indemnity benefits and expenses.
- Indiana saw its medical payments per claim decrease nearly 10 percent from 2014 to 2015, the first decrease in this category in over a decade.
- HEA 1320 partly addressed the higher-than-typical medical payments by enacting a hospital fee schedule effective in July 2014.
To learn more about this study or how to purchase it, click on the following link: http://www.wcrinet.org/reports/compscope-benchmarks-for-indiana-17th-edition.
The Cambridge-based WCRI is recognized as a leader in providing high-quality, objective information about public policy issues involving workers' compensation systems.
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.