Workers Comp Medical Networks = Cost Saving According to NCCI’s Barry Lipton
Workers Comp medical networks reduce costs in most instances. At NCCI’s 2017 Annual Issues Symposium, Barry Lipton, Senior Actuary covered a very interesting topic – Medical Costs Then and Now <<slides available at this link.
I do recommend looking at the slides for a few minutes as they are beyond informative.
One of the more important aspects of his presentation was that medical costs were decreasing due to the increase (almost 2/3) of physicians’ charges were network-based. See slide 14 of the presentation.
Slide 13 of Mr. Lipton’s presentation shows that states without medical fee schedules dwindled down to just a very few (6 states).
Two of his conclusions stated
- Most physician fee schedules have been in place since 2000
- Higher provider network penetration reaps benefits of system efficiencies
The second bullet point used to be quite a concern with the employer clients that I consulted with to reduce WC costs. The network penetration rates were never that high in many of the employer’s medical treatment networks.
Slide 8 of his presentation points out the main reason for the reduction in costs. Surprisingly, it is physician utilization per claim. While the reduction only totaled 3%, one would have to say this is significant in a time of upward spiraling medical costs.
As stated in my last article, workers comp medical networks or medical control is the most significant way to reduce costs out of the Six Keys To Reducing Workers Comp Costs.
Slide 2 shows that Workers Comp medical increases on Lost Time claims grew much more slowly over the last five years. In fact, the costs decreased in 2015. However, costs increased quite a bit in 2016 compared to the last few years.
The NCCI analysis agreed with most of my findings on the importance of using workers comp medical networks.
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