Recession – WC Indemnity Costs
The California Workers Comp indemnity costs and recession. I was recently reading an article from WCRI concerning an increase in California on indemnity benefits. Their usually very accurate research seemed to equate the rise in indemnity costs to the recession. I think this is a very accurate statement and should not be limited to just CA.
From my experience, the reasons for longer periods of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) nationwide are:
- The job may no longer be available due to the recession. The employer may have eliminated the job while the injured employee is on TTD.
- The employer may not have a modified duty job for a light duty return to work release by the physician. It is very difficult to create modified jobs during a period of layoffs.
- Employees may be very reluctant to return to work as Workers Comp benefits are viewed as a safety net similar to unemployment benefits
- The employer may not have communicated their light duty positions to the treating physician – there is no excuse for this to happen with today’s technology. Making a video of a job or modified job to provide to the treating physician is much less tedious than in the past.
- The employer may just not want the employee back due to other personnel issues. I often see the employees that are having HR-type problems be the very ones that are soon to file a claim.
- The long-term employees may decide to have a condition treated they have worked with over the years. I see this very often in a period of layoffs. One of the main conditions for the delayed treatment is carpal tunnel syndrome even though employers have been able to reduce carpal tunnel by 50%.
This list could have been longer. The indirect cost with indemnity is the increase in medical costs. The longer an employee is out of work, the longer they are required to seek treatment including pharmacy benefits.
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