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NORA Economics Sector Strategic Goals

927ZJHP - Analysis of Medical Cost Records from MarketScan Databases

Start Date: 10/1/2009
End Date: 9/30/2011

Principal Investigator (PI)
Phone: (513) 533-8331
Organization: NIOSH
Division: EID

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed

Attributed to Economics


Project Description


The primary objective 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 associated cost implications. All medical and indemnity costs due to workplace injuries and illnesses are supposed to be covered by Workers' Compensation. However, it is thought that in many cases part of the medical costs is shifted to group health insurance. This project examines if there is any such shifting of costs.


It is hypothesized that:

  • healthcare 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;
  • disability costs show a positive association with a prior injury or illness event for which a Workers' Compensation claim was paid;
  • 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;
  • 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).


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