WCRI: Compensation benefits in New York increased by 10% in 2020/2021, partly reflecting the impact of COVID-19
Cambridge, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) – A new report from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found that compensation per claim increased by 10% for 2020 non-COVID-19 claims assessed in 2021 (2020/2021 claims) after being mostly stable since 2015 in New York. Medical payments per claim fell 5% in 2020/2021, after a rapid increase the previous year. The increase in compensation benefits and the decrease in medical payments per claim in 2020/2021 likely reflects the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on non-COVID-19 claims.
“For claims at 12 months of experience, the average number of weeks of temporary disability increased by 9% (approximately one week) in 2020/2021, which may reflect economic conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI adviser. and Executive Vice President. “We observed similar results in several states in our CompScope™ Benchmarks study and, in the case of New York, this growth was a significant factor contributing to the growth in claims benefits in 2020/2021.”
According to the study, Monitoring Trends in the New York Workers’ Compensation System, 2022 Edition, the growth in compensation benefits per claim in 2020/2021 was partially offset by a decrease in medical payments per claim, which also likely reflects factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the temporary suspension of elective surgeries and the avoidance of certain types of medical care at the start of the pandemic. Additionally, key prescription drug pricing and utilization metrics continued to decline in 2020/21, including average prescription payment per claim and percentage of claims with prescription. These declines in key prescription metrics likely reflect several factors, including efforts to address unnecessary opioid use and, most recently, the drug formulary, which went into effect for new prescriptions in December 2019.
The analysis in this edition focuses primarily on trends in compensation benefits, medical payments and benefit delivery expenditures from 2015 to 2020. Claims with experience up to 2021 are analyzed and, in some cases, trends before 2007 establish a baseline before the reforms that year. The study provides insight into the impact of the pandemic on non-COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims during the first months of the pandemic. Other studies are also included to help put New York’s system performance into perspective, such as the prices paid for medical services and the frequency and amount of opioids dispensed to workers.
To learn more about this study or to purchase a copy, visit the WCRI website at https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/monitoring-trends-in-the-new-york-workers-compensation-system-2022-edition. William Monnin-Browder and Carol A. Telles are the authors of the study.
The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Organized at the end of 1983, the Institute does not take a position on the questions it studies; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which are consistent with accepted scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured by rigorous and impartial peer review procedures. WCRI’s diverse membership includes employers; insurers; government entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state trade union organizations; and state administrative agencies in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
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