States without comp fee schedules pay more: WCRI

States with no workers compensation fee schedule pay higher prices for professional services, though prices vary significantly across the U.S., according to researchers from the Workers Compensation Research Institute’s medical price index study released Tuesday.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based institute evaluated prices paid in workers compensation for professional services billed by physicians, physical therapists and chiropractors in 36 study states between 2008 and 2019.

The researchers found that prices paid for similar professional services ranged from 28% below the median in Florida to 165% above the median in Wisconsin in 2019. Prices paid for these services grew at a median of 34% during the study period for states without fee schedules, whereas the median growth rate for states with fee schedules was 7%.

The study found seven states — Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia — experienced substantial changes in overall prices paid as a result of major fee schedule changes during the study period. Virginia, which implemented a fee schedule in January 2018, saw professional services prices drop 13% between 2017 and 2018, and hold steady in 2019, according to the study.

In states without fee schedules, including Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Wisconsin, prices paid for professional services were between 42% and 174% higher than the median of study states with fee schedules.

States included in the study are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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