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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Medical Costs Soar in Workers' Compensation

The cost of medical care has increased tremendously according to a recently issued  report. The NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc.) reports an increase in medical costs from 40% in the early 1980s to almost 60% currently.

NCCI reports that the increase appears to be national, "....Furthermore, although there are differences in the medical share by state, the change in the relative mix of states has had very little impact on the estimated countrywide share of medical and indemnity benefits."

The national workers' compensation medical delivery system has now become a focus of attention in light of the prospects of an overhaul of national health care system as medical costs continue to put American businesses at a economic disadvantage with foreign competitors. James Kvaal, in his article, "The Economic Imperative for Health Reform," highlights that "...ever rising medical costs are threatening to drive an unsustainable explosion in the national debt." Higher insurance premiums result in lower wages or lack of medical coverage all together and the loss of preventive care.

The costly and inadequate workers' compensation medical delivery system provides a fragmented approach to medical care. The system's focus should treat current medical conditions and provide for preventive care. The administrative costs savings in providing global coverage will translate into reduced delivery costs and a healthier work force. Some of the extra savings could be well spent on much needed medical research to avoid the need for costly medical care.

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