Long COVID in the Workers’ Compensation System in 2020 and 2021

By Bogdan Savych

August 17, 2023 Related Topics: COVID 19, Indemnity Benefits, Medical Costs, Return to Work, Utilization

This study examines the prevalence of long COVID among workers with COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims that occurred 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. 

The study time frame covers COVID-19 claims from the early period of the pandemic as well as claims from the period when the delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was predominant and when COVID-19 vaccinations became widely available. Since we examine post-infection claim records through the end of March 2022, we observe up to 24 months of medical care and income benefits after the infection date, thus providing an extended view on workers’ experiences. We also highlight comparisons of selected measures over time. 

Early periods of the pandemic were unusual times with limited guidance about preferred treatments, and even access to providers was a challenge as medical facilities were often overwhelmed. We show that patterns of recovery changed slightly in the subsequent waves of infection and once the vaccinations became available. 

Long COVID in the Workers' Compensation System in 2020 and 2021. Bogdan Savych. August 2023. WC-23-31.

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Research 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? 

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