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States can deliver low work comp premiums and high benefits

A few states deliver high levels of benefits to injured workers at low premium rates, and a few deliver low benefits at high premium rates. Peter Rousmaniere’s assessment of each state’s work comp system not only tells us which states fall into which categories, but provides insights into the ‘why’ as well.
For example, NJ NY and Montana have the highest work comp insurance costs, but very low benefits. And Massachusetts is at the opposite end of the spectrum, with low premiums and high wage replacement benefits for injured workers. (Mass doesn’t treat providers nearly as well, as the Mass fee schedule is among the lowest in the country, while medical costs are not)
Peter delves into the whys, and among his findings are:
five states deliver both low premiums and high wage replacement benefits (IA AZ VA NV MA)
– five states are the polar opposite, with high premiums and low benefits (AK CA NJ NY MT)

and then there’s the majority of states which fall in between costly/poor benefits and cheap insurance/good benefits.
Peter also notes that there is a wide disparity among states in median duration of disability, ranging from 4 days in the best states to 12 in NY.
While some states seem stuck in a dysfunctional morass, making little progress, California’s recent success in dramatically reducing premiums and costs should encourage all state legislators to get cracking. Reform can be done, even in a state as large and diverse as California. Montana, which is tiny by comparison and much more homogeneous, should find reform a much less difficult task.
What does this mean for you?
Find out how your key states are ranked, and you may well find where you’ve got problems in your comp program.

One thought on “States can deliver low work comp premiums and high benefits”

  1. One thing I would like to see in the WC Report; what are the outcomes that come with these stats.
    1. Return to Work; to the same job, another job
    2. Improved functional status
    3. Improved Employer, Employee and Provider Satisfaction
    4. No attorney involvement
    5. Other
    Just like on the Medical side of the house, the industry needs to show what it does to improve the system for the dollars spent.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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