Do High Health Plan Deductibles Lead to More Workers’ Compensation Claims?

Are employees injured at work more likely to file under workers’ compensation instead of group health insurance when their group health plan has a higher deductible?

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found evidence they do in a new study it says has great relevance since the number of workers in health insurance plans with high deductibles is growing.

“In years past, workers may have chosen to have a work injury covered within their group health plan. But the increasing cost of deductibles may cause them to consider having the injury covered ─ where it potentially belongs ─ in the workers’ compensation system, where there are no deductibles or copayments for the medical care they receive,” said John Ruser, WCRI’s president and CEO.

Injured workers consider a variety of factors in deciding whether to file in group health or workers’ compensation. WCRI’s new study, Do Higher Deductibles in Group Health Plans Increase Injured Workers’ Propensity to File for Workers’ Compensation?, finds evidence that injured workers are more likely to file in workers’ compensation when they face higher out-of-pocket costs in group health plans.

The following is a sample of the study’s major findings:

The study was authored by Olesya Fomenko and Jonathan Gruber.