A Delaware workers’ compensation law passed in 2014 has succeeded in lowering workers’ compensation medical claim costs, new research shows.
The report from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found the average medical payment per claim decreased about 33% between 2014 and 2017 in Delaware, which was the main goal of House bill (HB) 373.
The study, Trends in the Delaware Workers’ Compensation System, 2015–2020, examines total claim costs, medical payments, indemnity benefits, disability duration, benefit delivery expenses, timeliness of benefit payments to workers, and other metrics. It analyzes how these metrics of system performance have changed over time from 2015 to 2020 with payments made through March 2021.
The report also discusses the impact of COVID-19 on workers’ compensation claims in the early months of the pandemic in 2020.
The following are among the study’s findings:
- Total costs per claim continued to decrease after 2017 following a series of medical fee schedule reductions (which were the focus of the 2014 legislation).
- Medical payments per claim decreased in 2020 due to utilization, which may reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Indemnity benefits per claim were mostly stable 2015–2020. In 2020, wages of workers with injuries and duration of temporary disability increased, which may reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Benefit delivery expenses per claim decreased overall, depending on maturity, 2015–2020.
The data used for this report exclude COVID-19 claims, for which the nature or cause of injury was COVID-19.
WCRI is an independent, not-for-profit research organization.
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