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Workers Compensation Medical Inflation – Surprising Numbers


Workers Compensation Medical Inflation Webinar- WCRI

Was Workers Compensation medical inflation worse than overall medical inflation or overall economic inflation?  That is the question covered by WCRI in a webinar presentation yesterday – September 6th.  The two presenters from WCRI were Dr. Oleysa Fomenko and Dr. Rebecca Yang.

The webinar addressed the following questions.

  • To what extent did the recent sizable price growth spread to the healthcare sector in general and to workers’ compensation in particular?
  • What are the trends in workers’ compensation medical payments per claim over the past decade? What are the main drivers of medical cost growth in workers’ compensation?
  • Is there evidence of medical inflation for the major types of workers’ compensation providers over the past decade?
  • What is the impact of workers’ compensation reimbursement regulations on containing growth in workers’ compensation prices and payments?

An article covering a similar NCCI study in January of this year seemed to heavily agree with the WCRI study.

WCRI (Workers Comp Research Institute) is headquartered in Cambridge, MA.  The organization is well-known for supplying unbiased statistics to the Workers Comp industry.

The webinar contained 30+ slides.  Below is one of the charts presented on workers compensation medical inflation. Please note that these results are preliminary and may change in the future.

WCRI Chart - Workers Compensation Medical Inflation


Usually, we hear that medical inflation has far outpaced overall inflation by several percentage points. That was not the case with medical and workers compensation medical.

Fee Schedule States Win Again

When we cover workers compensation medical inflation, the subject of fee schedules always comes to mind.  As covered in this website very often, workers comp fee schedule states limit the medical exposure in claims better than non-fee schedule states. The below chart makes that point crystal clear.

workers comp medical inflation fee schedule chart


medical inflation and other CPI results chart

The answer to one of the questions posed above is how medical inflation compares to other types of inflation.  The two medical statistics show that medical inflation was much less than other types of inflation.  Medical inflation usually outpaces overall inflation.  During the pandemic, medical inflation and workers compensation medical inflation were much lower.

Bottom Line

The WCRI and NCCI studies show that general medical inflation including the workers comp sector was not as severe as in the past.   Fee schedule states kept the worker comp medical services in check and did not incur as much inflation as non-fee schedule states.  As pointed out in prior articles, workers comp is now the only profitable Property and Casualty line in the insurance world.



James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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