Cambridge, MA – Total payments per claim with more than seven days of lost time in North Carolina have been stable since 2013 for claims at 12 months of experience, the result of offsetting factors, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).
Since 2009, trends in indemnity benefits per claim have varied depending on claim maturity. For claims at 12 months of experience, indemnity benefits were stable from 2009 to 2013, and then they increased nearly 3 percent per year from 2013 to 2018. For claims at 48 months of experience, indemnity benefits decreased 3 percent per year from 2009 to 2013 and then changed little since 2013.
“Different trends in indemnity cost components drove these results,” said Ramona Tanabe, executive vice president and general counsel of WCRI. “Among the factors were the average weekly wages of workers with injuries, weeks of temporary disability, and the percentage of claims with lump-sum settlements and average settlement amounts.”
Medical payments per claim decreased nearly 4 percent per year from 2013 to 2018, which offset small increases in indemnity benefits per claim and benefit delivery expenses per claim. New fee schedule rules went into effect in 2015, a key factor in the decline in medical payments per claim.
The study, CompScope Benchmarks for North Carolina, 20th Edition, compared North Carolina with workers’ compensation systems in 17 other states. For the study, WCRI analyzed workers’ compensation claims with experience through 2019.
The following are among the study’s other findings:
- Total costs per claim in North Carolina were higher than in many states studied for 2016 claims with more than seven days of lost time at 36 months of experience.
- Indemnity benefits per claim in North Carolina were among the highest of 18 study states, driven by longer duration of temporary disability and larger settlements.
- For 2018 claims at an average of 12 months of experience, the average medical payment per claim in North Carolina was 26 percent lower than the median of the 18 states.
With many wondering what impact the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will have on state workers’ compensation systems, Tanabe says, “That is currently unknown, but the CompScope™ studies will be a useful baseline to monitor the effects.”
The study was authored by Carol Telles.
Learn more or purchase a copy: WCRI: CompScope Benchmarks for North Carolina, 20th Edition