Workers’ Comp Claim Cost Changed Little in Indiana After Reforms Enacted

June 4, 2018

The average total cost per workers’ compensation claim in Indiana was stable in the years since the state enacted workers’ comp system reforms, according to a recent Workers Compensation Research Institute study.

The study, CompScope Benchmarks for Indiana, 18th Edition, provides a look at changes in the Indiana workers’ comp system following the enactment in 2013 of House Enrolled Act 1320. The legislation included the implementation of a hospital fee schedule that took effect on July 1, 2014, as well as increases in indemnity benefits in three yearly increments beginning in 2014.

“Recent stability of cost trends is likely related to provisions in HEA 1320,” Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel, said in a statement. “Since 2013, payments per claim changed little, in contrast to growth averaging 6 percent per year from 2004 to 2013.”

WCRI analyzed workers’ comp claims with experience through 2017 for injuries up to and including 2016. WCRI compared Indiana with workers’ compensation systems in 17 other states and found workers’ comp costs in Indiana were typical of those in the other states studied. Medical payments per claim remained higher in Indiana and indemnity benefits per claim remained lower in Indiana when compared with most of other states WCRI studied.

The study’s other findings include:

  • From 2014 to 2015, medical payments per claim decreased 12 percent due in part to the introduction of a hospital fee schedule, which took effect on July 1, 2014.
  • From 2015 to 2016, medical payments per claim increased 9 percent, which may partly reflect system features.
  • Indemnity benefits per claim increased 4 percent from 2014 to 2015 and 11 percent from 2015 to 2016. The income benefit provisions of HEA 1320 were likely a factor in the recent increases in indemnity benefits per claim.

WCRI is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, Mass.

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