Cutting Or Eliminating Health Insurance v. Workers Comp
One of the under-the-radar effects of cutting or eliminating health insurance is a rise in Workers Compensation claims. If an employee has no health insurance or has to pay a very large deductible, this may cause them to turn to Workers Comp as a way to pay for an accident that happened off the job.
This is one of the assumptions that have been made in the WC arena for years.I came across a 2005 study that seems to fly in the face of this assumption. Actually, I was researching to backup my assumption that employees will substitute WC for health insurance. The Rand Study known was titled “How Does Health Insurance Affect Workers’ Compensation Filing?” The conclusion of the 38 page working paper was:
- Uninsured and more vulnerable workers are actually less likely to file claims than the insured.
- The likelihood of filing WC claims has more to do with the employers’ characteristics and not the employees’ circumstances
- Whether or not employers offer health insurance to employees appears most important, much more important even than the insurance status of workers themselves
- Even repeat injury-sufferers are more likely to file during episodes in which their employer offers health insurance, but not statistically more likely to file during episodes in which they themselves are insured.
- This suggests that the workplace environment and employer incentives may have a significant, or perhaps even the dominant, impact on workers’ compensation filing.
Some of the conclusions drawn in the study do make sense. I also found another study from The Rand Corporation titled The Impact of Health Care Reform on Workers’ Compensation Medical Care. The author of the 2012 study used Massachusetts as his basis for drawing any conclusions as the state had been under healthcare reform previously.
The conclusion drawn was that healthcare reform caused some of the Workers Comp hospital bills to be paid under health. This was due to a 5 – 10% reduction in WC hospital volume since Massachusetts enacted healthcare reform.
The most recent study somewhat contradicts the previous study. I am now confused as to whether or not health insurance reductions by employers will have an effect on WC.
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