Over the past several years, workers’ compensation premiums have grown at fast rate, often far outstripping the benefits received. In fact, between 2010 and 2014, the cost of workers’ compensation grew much more than the amount of benefits that were paid out. These costs include not only insurance premiums, but also administrative costs and reimbursement. In 2014, the ratio for benefits received to dollar paid in, was .68 to every dollar. This was down from 2010, when the benefits received were .81 to every dollar paid. In California, the amount paid by employers went up dramatically during that time, by approximately .32 on the dollar, placing California in second place for the increase.
The rising cost of medical care in the United States now represents the lion’s share of the use of the benefits paid out by workers’ compensation insurance. This cost has consistently risen, with the medical benefits representing 29% of the benefits paid out in 1980, whereas this was at 50% in 2014. For a more state specific view, in 32 states, medical costs represents a majority of the benefits paid by workers’ compensation insurance. In California, medical costs in workers’ compensation claims represented 57.7% of the benefits paid out.
This study looked to two potentially contributing factors to the decline in benefits received from workers’ compensation insurance. The study recognizes that there has been a decline in work-related injury, which is a trend which continues. Moreover, the study also specifically recognizes the changes in state specific workers’ compensation coverage requirements. Some states provide fewer protections for workers, which leads a reduction in the number of compensable claims, as well as a reduction in the number of claims filed over all.
Despite the increase of costs of insurance to employers, between 2010 and 2014, the number of employees covered by workers’ compensation benefits increased in California by 9.9%. In addition, the wages covered by the benefits also increased in California by 22.1%. Overall, the number of claims paid out in California rose between 2010 and 2014 by a significant enough amount to make California third in the nation for benefits paid during that time.
Regardless of perceived benefits or costs of workers’ compensation insurance and benefits to the employee, insurance is still required by California law. If you have questions about whether you are required to carry insurance and who needs to be covered, contact me to today at 714-516-8188 to discuss your business.