A new report shows that workers’ compensation claims in the health care industry are expected to decrease but claim severity will rise in increase in 2013.

The study conducted by Aon Risk Solutions tracked workers’ compensation claims from over 1,000 health care facilities nationwide.  Aon forecasts that the health care industry will experience an annual loss rate of $0.79 per $100 of payroll, which highlights the consistency that the industry has had over the last five years.  The stabilized loss rate is expected to increase at a modest 1 percent annual rate, while actual workers’ compensation claims are expected to decrease at a 1 percent annual rate.  Despite a lower projection of workers’ compensation claims, the loss rate is expected to increase because claims are expected to be more severe.  The report highlighted some medical improvements that have helped decrease workers’ compensation claims.

Factors responsible for reduction in workers’ compensation claims

  • Improved beds and patient lifting devices has put less strain on medical professionals when tending to and moving a patient.
  • Nursing experience and competency has increased as the medical field has experienced the lowest staff turnover rate in years.  Increased knowledge and experience leads to less reported injuries.
  • A renewed emphasis on patient safety has created a safer environment for everyone involved.

Although healthcare systems are seeing a decrease in claims, claim severity is on the rise and the costs associated with these claims are expected to increase at a 2 percent annual rate.

Factors responsible for increase in workers’ compensation claim costs

  • A more severe claim generally puts the employee out of work for a longer period of time, which increases the payment made to the injured worker.
  • A tightening economy has led to higher medical, indemnity, and legal costs.
  • An aging workforce may also increase the likelihood of suffering an injury on the job.

Martha Bronson Posey, a senior consultant and actuary with Aon Global Risk Consulting, said the number of former health care employees who are returning to the field bring more experience and knowledge of safety procedures.

“It has been illustrated time and again that return to work programs keep business and premium costs down as well as benefit injured workers,” said Posey.  “It’s a win-win for both the health care system and injured worker.”


Related source:  Insurance Journal