The average total cost per workers’ compensation claim in Florida has grown moderately in recent years, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). All of the key components of total costs per claim experienced moderate increases from 2011 to 2016 in Florida.
“Medical payments per claim, indemnity benefits per claim, and benefit delivery expenses per claim in Florida all grew moderately at 3 to 5 percent per year during this period,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel.
The study, CompScope Benchmarks for Florida, 18th Edition, compared Florida with workers’ compensation systems in 17 other states and found that the average total cost per workers’ compensation claim in Florida was in the middle when compared with the other states WCRI studied. WCRI analyzed Florida workers’ compensation claims with experience through March 2017.
“The findings from this study primarily reflect the performance of the workers’ compensation system before two Florida Supreme Court rulings, which system stakeholders believe could have an impact on the costs and litigation expenses in the state’s workers’ compensation system,” said Tanabe, “Upcoming CompScope studies will monitor the impact of the 2016 state Supreme Court decisions on Florida’s workers’ compensation system with more mature data after the rulings.”
Two decisions were issued by the Florida Supreme Court in 2016. The Castellanos decision in April 2016 declared the mandatory worker attorney fee schedule in workers’ compensation unconstitutional as a violation of due process. The Westphal decision in June 2016 ruled that the state’s 104-week limitation on temporary total disability (TTD) benefits is unconstitutional as a denial of right of access to the courts.
The following are among the study’s other findings:
- Indemnity benefits per claim in Florida were lower than typical of the study states, which resulted from rules governing temporary disability and impairment benefits.
- Medical payments per claim in Florida were fairly typical of the 18 states. Prices paid were the lowest of the study states for medical professional services and the highest of the 18 states for hospital outpatient care.
- Florida had more frequent defense attorney involvement with higher payments per claim. These factors were offset by slightly lower frequency and payments per claim for medical cost containment expenses, resulting in typical benefit delivery expenses per claim.
For more information about this study or to purchase a copy, visit https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/compscope-benchmarks-for-florida-18th-edition.
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