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ECONOMICS

NORA Economics Sector Strategic Goals

927ZGTE - Economic Burden of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in Small Businesses

Start Date: 10/1/2008
End Date: 9/30/2012

Principal Investigator (PI)

Name: Anasua Bhattacharya
Phone: (513) 533-8331
Organization: NIOSH
Division: EID

Primary Goal Addressed

1.0

Secondary Goal Addressed

None

Attributed to Economics

100%

Project Description

Problems/Needs

The primary mission of this project is to examine whether workers with Workers’ Compensation claims also had elevated health care utilization costs associated with the same injury or illness event that appear in the medical insurance and disability compensation systems. The project also investigates whether work-related injuries or illnesses have consequences for employment status and have associated cost implications. All medical and indemnity costs due workplace injuries and illnesses are supposed to be covered by Workers’ Compensation. However, it is thought that in many cases a portion of the medical costs are shifted to group health insurance coverage. This project examines if there is any such shifting of costs. The MarketScan Database includes comprehensive health care costs paid at the level of individual workers employed by a specified group of corporations, as well as parallel information on disability payments and Workers Compensation payments from a large population. The periods of eligibility are also identified. Access to this data presents an opportunity to examine whether workers with Workers’ Compensation claims also had elevated health care utilization costs associated with the same injury or illness event that appear in the medical insurance and disability compensation systems. The data may also allow investigation of whether work-related injuries or illnesses have consequences for employment status and associated cost implications.

Purpose/Hypothesis

It is hypothesized that health care utilization costs show a positive association with prior work-related injury or illness events (e.g., in the previous 6 months) for which a Workers' Compensation claim was paid. It is hypothesized that disability costs show a positive association with a prior injury or illness event for which a Workers Compensation claim was paid. It is hypothesized that any change in employment status (e.g., full-time to part-time, partial disability or total disability/retirement) shows a positive association with a prior injury or illness event for which a Workers Compensation claim was paid. It is hypothesized that associations of Workers Compensation claims with higher group health costs are stronger for claims and subsequent health expenses in the same classes of illnesses (this can also be done by industry, age group and gender if there are enough observations for each illness).

Outputs/Outcomes

The intermediate outcomes obtained from this project suggest that there exists cost shifting from Workers Compensation to group medical insurance coverage.

 
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