Workers’ compensation medical payments per claim in many states declined in 2020 and 2021, while compensation benefits increased over the same time, reflecting economic changes during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to company surveys released Tuesday.
A package of studies released Tuesday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute compared medical payments, reimbursement benefits and benefits delivery spending in 17 states and how they changed in the early days of the pandemic.
“Growth in wages was a key driver of the trend in compensation benefits per tort,” Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.
Tanabe said workers̵7; average weekly wages grew faster in service-providing industries during the early part of the pandemic and that a shift took place in the share of claims from lower to middle wage categories.
The states highlighted in the study package were Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The studies’ authors noted that the duration of temporary disability also took into account the underlying compensation trend, with most states highlighted in the research experiencing declining or stable temporary disability durations in 2021 after reported increases the previous year.
The researchers said the reports, part of the 23rd edition of CompScope Benchmarks, are designed to help policymakers track the effectiveness of policy changes and identify trends in states’ systems for workers, providing insight into the overall impact Covid-19 is having had on comp.