AF Group, together with Johns Hopkins University, has published a new study which looks into how COVID-19 continues to impact US workers – and its findings may upset previous notions about which workforce demographics are most vulnerable to the virus.
Entitled "Attributes of Long Duration COVID-19 Workers' Compensation Claims from 36 U.S. States," the study was published as a follow-up to previous research by co-authors AF Group corporate medical director Dan Hunt, D.O. and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine emeritus professor of medicine Edward Bernacki, M.D., MPH.
The study surveyed some 21,336 workers' compensation claims (1,898 COVID-19 and 19,438 non-COVID-19 WC claims) which were submitted to a major workers’ compensation carrier between January 01. 2020 and August 31, 2020, from 11 states in the US Midwest.
It found that while a higher number of claims occurred in healthcare occupations during the early stages of the pandemic, data suggested that workers’ ages at the time of the infection – not industry or gender – proved to be the stronger risk factor for prolonged impairment. Workers’ ages were also a factor in increased workers' compensation costs due to COVID-19.
In particular, workers aged 60+ were at the highest risk of infection, and thus saw increased claims costs.
"This is the sixth peer reviewed paper published with our research partners at Johns Hopkins University and the second examining our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic," said Hunt in a statement. These efforts reflect the value of collaboration between AF Group and an academic center of excellence and allows us to critically examine health issues currently impacting our injured workers.”