Virginia’s Cost Per Worker’s Compensation Medical Claim Higher Than Most

February 2, 2012

Workers’ compensation data costs show that Virginia is a lower cost state, largely due to a lower frequency of claims, according to the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

The study, Benchmarks for Virginia, found the average cost of medical care per claim for injured workers in Virginia is among the highest of the states included in the study.

Medical accounted For nearly 70 percent of growth in Virginia costs per claim from 2004–2009.

When comparing Virginia broadly, insurance premium rates were 32 percent lower than the median of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. The average cost per worker in Virginia was 27 percent lower than the median of 46 jurisdictions — resulting from a somewhat higher average cost per claim but a lower frequency of claims per 100,000 workers.

The WCRI study said medical costs per claim with more than seven days of lost time in Virginia were 22 percent higher than the median of the 16 states in the study. The study found growth in medical costs per claim in Virginia was the main driver of the growth in overall costs per claim from 2004 to 2009, increasing an average of eight percent per year for the period.

Despite higher medical costs per claim, the overall costs per workers’ compensation claim in Virginia was close to the median of the study states, in part because fewer workers there had more than one week off work. As a result, cases in which workers received indemnity benefits — payments for lost wages — were less frequent.

The study also found that:

  • The average lump-sum settlement per claim was lower than in most of the other wage-loss states.
  • Vocational rehabilitation was used more often in Virginia than most of the other wage-loss states.
  • Benefit delivery expenses per claim for medical cost containment services and litigation related activities were typical of the study states.

Source: WCRI

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