Cost of workers’ compensation in US falling, but coverage is on its way up

Cost of workers’ compensation - construction workers on the job
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A new report compared data over the years following 2014 and showed the coverage is improving.

The cost of workers’ compensation in the United States is steadily dropping, even as the coverage it provides appears to be rising. The Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Costs, and Coverage report examined data from 2018, comparing it with updated data for 2014 through 2017.

This was conducted by the National Academy of Social insurance and the data is publicly available.

This is the 23rd consecutive year for the report on the cost of workers’ compensation. This report offers consistent data for researchers and others in the industry. It will be of particular importance in 2020 while contextualizing the pandemic’s impact.

“The current worldwide pandemic has reinforced the importance of social insurance systems like unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. We have also witnessed the spread of COVID-19 through workplaces as different as healthcare and meatpacking. Although this publication reports on a pre-pandemic world, it can provide context for thinking about the role of workers’ compensation systems as the world changes around us,” said Chair of the report’s Data Panel, Les Boden, the professor of public health at Boston University.

The five-year cost of workers’ compensation study’s key trends closely reflect those of prior reports.

Both the standardized benefits and the total worker benefits have kept up a declining trend. Standardized benefits, that is, the benefits per $100 of covered wages, has dropped in every state across the country except for Hawaii. Across the period of the study examined in the report, standardized benefits fell by $0.16 to reach $0.77 per $100 of covered wages. Standardized employer costs also fell, taking them down to $1.21 per $100 in covered wages.

At the same time, coverage has kept up a steady rise. The only states in which there wasn’t an increase in coverage were Wyoming and North Dakota.

There were two primary enhancements in the 2020 report. The first was that the definition of US workers’ compensation saw a broadened discussion and with it came a deeper exploration of the programs that could be included in the study data. The second was a wider examination of the Addendum of other social insurance and safety net Cost of workers’ compensation - construction workers on the jobprograms that are connected to the cost of workers’ compensation and the income and health projection for workers who are disabled, ill or injured.

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