Study Shows Increase in Treatments per Workers’ Comp Claims

September 26, 2008

The National Council on Compensation Insurance, headquartered in Florida, posted a new research study regarding a continuing increase in treatments per workers compensation claims.

NCCI says in recent years, workers’ compensation medical costs have grown dramatically and that there are several factors influencing the growth in treatments per claim.

Over the last half of the 1990s, medical severity grew at more than three times the rate of medical price inflation (over 70 percent vs. 21 percent, respectively, from 1996/1997 to 2001/2002), according to NCCI.

In a study published in 2007, NCCI sought to identify the factors that
contributed to this growth. That study found:
·An increase in treatments per claim contributed a little more than
50 percent
·An increase in average cost per service generated a little more than
25 percent
·A shift to more costly injuries accounted for about 20 percent of the
increase in medical severity

In this paper, NCCI updates the data through accident year 2002/2003 and examines the components of the significant increase in treatments per claim because that was identified as the key driver of the increase in severity in the late 1990s, NCCI said.

In the recent study, NCCI investigated claims with and without surgery and separated the overall increase in treatments per claim into its

Key Findings include:
·The increase in the share of claims with surgery accounted for about
25 percent of the overall increase in treatments per claim. Surgical
claims involved more than twice the number of treatments per claim,
particularly physical therapy and drug treatments.
·The primary drivers of the increases in treatments per claim varied
by service group.
·Treatments per claim overall were significantly impacted by physical
therapy treatments, which constituted approximately 50 percent of all treatments per claim.
·Overall, the most significant increases in treatments per claim
occurred in 2000 and 2001, and have slowed in the most recent years.
However, many of the more cost-intensive service groups have continued to increase.

The entire NCCI study can be accessed at

Source: NCCI

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