Workers’ compensation professionals are predicting a 20% drop in new injury claims this year, according to a study by Health Strategy Associates.
The survey assessed the perspectives, programs and expectations of 35 workers’ compensation professionals representing large state funds and insurers, national third-party administrators, large self-insured and self-administered employers, and service providers.
“Although respondents are somewhat concerned about presumption laws, the major impact has not come from COVID-19 claims and their costs,” said Joe Paduda, Health Strategy Associates principal. “Instead, it is the economic devastation from lockdowns along with unemployment.”
Service providers said they saw new claims drop by as much as 50% “practically overnight,” Health Strategy Associates said. The most affected were services used early in a claim, such as occupational medical clinics, transportation, imaging, physical therapy, independent medical exams and field case management.
Payers predicted premium reductions driven by business closures and steep declines in payroll, the survey found. They also expect extended disability durations on non-COVID-19 claims. The concern was driven by delayed procedures, an inability or unwillingness to seek treatment, fewer jobs to which to return, and adjudication processes, the report found.