California Economy Impacts Workers’ Compensation Costs

August 16, 2011

Workers’ compensation benefits for workers injured on the job in California decreased 1.6 percent to $9.3 billion in 2009, according to a study released today by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). In 2009 (the most recent year with complete data), the number of covered workers in California fell to 14.4 million, a 5.7 percent drop from the previous year, due in large part to the economic downturn.

Workers’ compensation benefits for medical care in California declined by 1.8 percent to $5.1 billion and cash benefits declined by 1.4 percent to $4.2 billion. Spending on medical care continued to make up more than half of total benefits in California.

Nationally, workers’ compensation benefits increased 0.4 percent to $58.3 billion. This change included both a 1.1 percent decrease in medical benefits and 1.9 percent increase in cash benefits. Employment of covered workers fell by 4.4 percent, while employer costs declined by 7.6 percent; both numbers represent the biggest percentage declines in over 20 years.

The new report, Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage and Costs, 2009, is the fourteenth in the series which provides the only comprehensive data on workers’ compensation benefits for the nation, the states, the District of Columbia, and federal programs.

Source: National Academy of Social Insurance

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