Indemnity, lost time greater for older workers: WCRI

Average medical and indemnity payments in workers comp claims increase with age, a study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute revealed Thursday.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research group studied how age impacts claim costs, cost components and worker outcomes in its latest FlashReport.

The study found little difference in injury rates and outcomes for workers regardless of their age. Injury rates were highest for workers aged 19 and younger, followed by workers aged 55 to 65, but rates of fatal injuries increased with age. The type of injury suffered varied by age, with younger workers more likely to suffer from struck-by injuries or cuts and older workers more likely to suffer from falls and fractures.

However, disability payments per claim steadily increased per claim up to age 64, with permanent partial disability/lump sum payments averaging a little more than $10,000 per claim for younger worker, climbing to an average of nearly $25,000 for workers aged 60 to 64, according to the report. Average duration of temporary disability benefits also steadily rose based on age and leveling out for workers at age 45 with an average of 24 weeks of temporary disability payments per claim, up from 9 weeks for the youngest workers.

Likelihood of injury with at least seven days of lost time (at 36 weeks of maturity) also increased steadily based on age, with a slightly more than 10% chance of a week of lost time for workers aged 15 to 19 and a 31% chance for workers 65 and over, said the WCRI. Indemnity payments also increased based on age, topping out for workers aged 60 to 64 with payments per claim averaging about $22,000 vs. less than $5,000 for the youngest workers.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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