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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Workers' Compensation Benefits, Employer Costs Rise with Economic Recovery

NASI issued the following press release reflecting that workers' compensation costs are continuing to soar on the back of ever increasing medical expenses. The real question that remains unanswered is whether the Affordable Care Care will rein in costs and capture the workers' compensation delivery system in the process. Increased costs are good for workers' compensation carriers as they increase premiums to reflects those numbers. Looking down the road, a single Universal Medical Benefit program may present the only true alternative to achieve the cost savings employers need and want. Today's post was shared by WCBlog and comes from

After declining in the wake of the recession, workers’ compensation benefits paid to injured workers and costs borne by employers increased in 2011 as the U.S. economy continued to recover, according to a new report by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI).

Total benefits rose by 3.5 percent to $60.2 billion.  The benefits include a 4.5 percent rise in medical care spending to $29.9 billion and a 2.6 percent rise in wage replacement benefits to $30.3 billion. Total costs to employers rose by 7.1 percent to $77.1 billion.

"Workers’ compensation often grows with the growth in employment and earnings,” said Marjorie Baldwin, chair of NASI’s Workers’ Compensation Data Panel and Professor of Economics in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.  When benefits and costs are measured relative to total covered wages, then benefits remained unchanged, and costs to employers rose very modestly (to $1.27 per $100 of wages) after declining in the previous five years.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2011
Covered workers (in thousands)
Covered wages (in billions)
Workers' compensation benefits (in billions)
     Cash benefits$30.32.6%
Employer costs (in billions)$77.17.1%
Amounts per $100 of covered wages
    Cash payments to workers
Source: National...
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