Do medical costs ever go down?
It would be a welcome and unexpected pleasure if they did, but don’t count on it happening anytime soon. According to a recently released briefing by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, medical costs in workers’ comp claims are expected to rise over the next couple of years. This is due to increased costs of medical care and increased use of medical benefits by workers who have a comp claim. So if you have a comp claim, brace yourself for the inevitable.
There are specialized treatments and drugs used in workers’ comp claims that are — surprise, surprise — very expensive, and they’ll contribute to these rising costs as they’re used more often. Medical benefits, which currently account for half of the cost of workers’ comp claims, are expected to rise to two-thirds of the cost.
Workers’ compensation payers would be well advised to keep an eye on these upcoming changes and work to rein in spending, but should be thoughtful about how they do it. For instance, providing fewer physical therapy visits per worker will likely save a couple of bucks, but then workers who aren’t allowed to heal properly might take those bucks away as an increase in drug costs as they deal with the pain of an uncared-for injury.
Here’s a good plan — reduce claim costs by instituting a safety program and providing incentives to employees helping to create a safe work environment. You managers can play a big role in creating a safe working environment. Identify employees with multiple claims and provide special safety training.
Yes, even though costs are expected to rise over the next couple of years, there are things companies can do to help keep those costs as low as possible. We are here to help and educate you, to find ways to reduce your claims or the severity of the injury when accidents occur. Call on us to assist!
-Steve Petty, Director of Risk Management
|Steve Petty joined the Insured Solutions team as Director of Risk Management in 2010. The lessons he has learned from thirty-five years in risk management formed a foundation for what is today a unique Workers’ Compensation program, generating exemplary results for employers.|
Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org, (229) 207-0664.