Cambridge, MA – The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) recently released a new study titled The Effects of Provider Choice Policies on Workers’ Compensation Costs. The study found nuanced evidence about how provider choice policies are related to workers’ compensation medical and indemnity costs.
According to the study, there was little evidence of differences in average costs per claim between states where policies give employers control over the choice of provider and states where policies give workers the most control of the choice of provider. This is especially true for medical costs, where average cost differences were near zero.
The evidence, however, masks important differences across injury types. Policies that give workers the most control over the choice of provider are associated with higher medical and indemnity costs among the small share of the most expensive back-related injuries and, more generally, higher indemnity costs for the costliest cases overall. Back-related injuries appear to at least partially account for higher indemnity costs, overall, among the most expensive cases in states where policies give workers the most control over the choice of provider.
“Policy changes designed to restrict worker choice across the board may do little to reduce costs on average,” said John Ruser, WCRI President and CEO. “Rather, policymakers in states where policies give workers control of the choice of provider might focus on factors affecting costs for the most costly cases.”
This study examines the effects of provider choice policies on workers’ compensation costs for injuries that occurred mostly between 2007 and 2010 across 25 states in which either employers or workers control the choice of provider. It excludes states where workers can choose a provider within their employers’ established network.
To learn more about this study or how to purchase it, click here: WCRI: The Effects of Provider Choice Policies on Workers’ Compensation Costs