WCRI: Illinois’ Workers’ Comp Claim Total Cost Grew 1-3% Annually Since 2012

The average total cost per workers’ compensation claim in Illinois grew annually anywhere from 1 to 3 percent since 2012, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

“Due to small to moderate changes in medical payments per claim, indemnity benefits per claim, and benefit delivery expenses per claim, the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim in Illinois grew annually about 1 to 3 percent after 2012,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel.

The study, CompScope Benchmarks for Illinois, 18th Edition, compared Illinois with workers’ compensation systems in 17 other states and found the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim in Illinois remained higher than typical when compared with the other WCRI CompScope study states. The study evaluated Illinois claims data through March 31, 2017, for injury dates between 2011 and 2016, and in some cases used a longer time frame to supply historical context for key metrics and to monitor changes in Illinois’ workers’ compensation system performance.

“Illinois’ results were higher than other study states on many metrics related to both medical payments and indemnity benefits. Illinois’ medical payments per workers’ compensation claim were driven by utilization of medical services and prices paid for these services while indemnity benefits per workers’ compensation claim reflected system features and processes related to permanent partial disability benefits and duration of temporary disability,” said Tanabe.

The following were among the study’s other findings:

  • Indemnity benefits were the largest component of total costs per workers’ compensation claim in Illinois, accounting for 45 percent of the total payments for 2014/2017, a time frame that refers to claims with injuries dating back to October 1, 2013, with experience through March 31, 2017.
  • One important component of indemnity benefits is the duration of temporary disability benefits. In 2014 (evaluated as of 2017), Illinois had a longer duration of temporary disability benefits than most other WCRI CompScope study states.
  • At 52 percent, Illinois had the highest rate of worker attorney involvement in workers’ compensation claims among all the WCRI CompScope study states for 2014/2017 claims.

This article was first published by Claims Journal.

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