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Excess healthcare costs associated with prior workers' compensation activity.

Bhattacharya A; Park RM
Am J Ind Med 2012 Nov; 55(11):1018-1027
BACKGROUND: Workers compensation (WC) does not fully compensate workplace injuries and illnesses. This work examines whether cost shifting occurs to group health insurance for work-related injuries and illnesses. METHODS: Thomson Reuters MarketScan databases of medical insurance claims were used. WC and other benefit system data, employee status and types of medical insurance coverage were also available. Medical cost was analyzed using two-part models: the first part modeled the monthly probability of a worker having any group health medical claims, and the second part modeled the total monthly cost of those medical claims. Models included an estimate of a worker's annual medical costs prior to a WC claim. The predicted monthly medical costs were derived by retransformation using Duan's smearing factor. RESULTS: Individuals with prior WC claims were more likely to file a group health medical claim compared to those with no prior WC claims (OR = 1.25) and incurred a higher average monthly medical costs (among nonunion hourly men aged 18-34 years with prior WC claims: $203.72 vs. $160.29 with no prior claim, an increase of $43). These increases were observed in all industrial sectors with the service sector having the highest monthly increase ($66). DISCUSSION: The results reveal that individuals with prior WC claims had higher probability of filing a group health medical claim and higher average monthly medical costs in all sectors. This suggests that a part of employer liability costs related to WC gets shifted to the group health medical insurance system.
Health-care; Health-care-facilities; Health-care-personnel; Health-programs; Health-services; Medical-care; Medical-examinations; Medical-services; Medical-treatment; Injuries; Disabled-workers; Diseases; Sociological-factors; Worker-health; Employee-health; Employees; Workers; Information-processing; Information-retrieval-systems; Analytical-models; Service-industries; Author Keywords: workers compensation; health insurance; occupational disease two-part models
Anasua Bhattacharya, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Education and Information Division, MSC-15, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati,OH 45226
Publication Date
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Manufacturing; Wholesale and Retail Trade
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division