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Covid’s impact on workers’ comp – initial Survey results

We are more than halfway thru our second Survey of COVID19’s Impact on Workers’ Compensation (details on the first survey and a link to the abstract is here).

Respondents include:

  • TPAs
  • Insurers
  • State Funds
  • Large self-insured/self-administered employers
  • Service providers/managed care firms

Top takeaways from the 18 surveys completed to date:

  • 83% of respondents rated COVID’s impact on workers’ comp a 4 or 5 (very or extremely significant impact)
  • Across all respondents over 10,000 COVID claims have been reported
  • To date about 15% have been accepted; many are still under review
  • The number of new injury claims has dropped significantly, although this varies greatly by type of employer
  • Disability durations are a major concern due to high unemployment and far fewer jobs to return to
  • To date, the incurred cost for COVID claims has been relatively modest

Service provider takeaways:

  • Field case management took a big hit early on and has yet to recover
  • UR volumes plummeted as well
  • Transportation got hammered early on…there’s some evidence it is recovering
  • Medical bill counts are trending lower (there’s a lag)
  • Pharmacy management is among the service lines least affected

I’ll finish the Surveys late tomorrow, then it’s analysis and report prep. Respondents will get a (very) detailed version of the Survey Report; an abstract will be available to the public.

And thanks VERY much to the 30+ payer executives who are sharing their experience; their reward will be knowing a lot more about the impacts of COVID, how other payers are responding, and how others are adapting.

What does this mean for you?

COVID’s impact on workers’ comp will not be COVID claims or costs. 

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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