Cambridge, MA – Total costs per workers’ compensation claim in Florida grew moderately since 2013, but that result masks recent changes in key cost components related to court decisions and medical fee schedule changes, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).
Indemnity benefits per claim grew faster for claims with experience through March 2017 and March 2018 than in previous periods. Defense attorney payments per claim grew moderately in 2016 and 2017 after a period of stability.
“The recent trends in medical payments per claim reflect the impact of medical fee schedule changes implemented in 2015 and 2016,” said Ramona Tanabe, executive vice president and counsel of WCRI.
There were two significant decisions by the Florida Supreme Court in 2016. The Castellanos decision in April 2016 declared the mandatory worker attorney fee schedule in workers’ compensation unconstitutional as a violation of due process, and the Westphal decision in June 2016 ruled that the state’s 104-week limitation on temporary total disability benefits is unconstitutional as a denial of right of access to the courts. The report provides an early look at changes following these decisions, reflecting up to 24 months of experience after the rulings.
The study, CompScope™ Benchmarks for Florida, 19th Edition, compared Florida with workers’ compensation systems in 17 other states. For the study, WCRI analyzed workers’ compensation claims with experience through March 2018.
Other key findings:
- At an average of nearly $39,000, total costs per claim with more than seven days of lost time in Florida were typical of the study states for 2015 claims with an average of 36 months of experience.
- The average indemnity benefit per claim in Florida was slightly lower than the 18-state median, mainly driven by shorter duration of temporary disability benefits and a lower average permanent partial disability and/or lump-sum settlement payment per claim.
- Medical payments per claim in Florida were typical of the 18 study states for claims with more than seven days of lost time at both 12 and 36 months of experience.
- Florida had more frequent attorney involvement and higher defense attorney payments per claim.
For more info or to purchase a copy: WCRI: CompScope™ Benchmarks for Florida, 19th Edition