Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda

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YAY! More COVID claims data!

During yesterday’s webinar on COVID19’s impact on workers’ compensation, Mark Priven and I asked the 260+ attendees to share any data they have on COVID and comp.

[As soon as we have a link to a recording of the webinar, I’ll post it.]

William Rabb of WorkCompCentral provided a summary of the presentation [subscription required] this morning, and added helpful commentary from NCCI’s Jeff Eddinger. (NCCI just updated their guide to COVID presumption laws and regulations – get it here.)

Jeff Kadison of Practical Actuarial Solutions forwarded a detailed study put out by New York’s Insurance Rating Board. Lots of detail on costs, counts, and a discussion of potential impact.  A few key takeaways:

Using the CDC’s models, NYCIRB came up with the following estimates:

  • note 97.8% of infected workers will not require hospitalization (this is an estimate)
  • for those that do need hospital care:
    • estimated COVID19 non-ICU hospitalization cost range of $20,129 to $29,948
    • depending on clinical severity, estimated COVID19 ICU costs with ventilator support range from $47,458 to $192,250
    • for claims that may have long-term health issues, the NYCIRB estimated the average incurred medical to be approximately $200,000. (note this is just an estimate)

Brandon Miller, CEO of MWCIA was kind enough to send an excellent report prepared by Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry’s Brian Zaidman.

Unlike California and Florida, Minnesota’s claim counts didn’t drop much over the first half of 2020, although a third of MN claims are COVID19-related. The implication is fewer non-COVID19 claims have been filed in Minnesota than one would have expected.

Similar to the Golden State, Minnesota is a “presumption state” which may well be leading to more COVID claims filed. (California’s is by regulation, Minnesota by law.)


COVID-specific claims

Peter Strauss, Executive Director of the Montana Self Insurers’ Association also helped out, sending a presentation delivered 10 days ago by the state’s Department of Labor & Industry.

Unlike Minnesota, Montana’s data is remarkably consistent with what we’ve seen from Florida and California. Overall claim counts’ are down sharply, while COVID claims are relatively rare. Of course, Montana is built for social distancing; the state has a very low population density.


What does this mean for you?

Based on the very limited research we have, it certainly appears COVID19 cases aren’t going to be that expensive.

And please forward any credible research on the claim counts, claim costs, and COVID claims in the comment field below.

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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