Wisconsin Average Indemnity Benefit Up, Disability Duration Still Short: WCRI

Wisconsin’s average indemnity benefit per claim grew nearly 10% in 2022, fueled by large growth in the average duration of temporary disability per claim, according to a recent study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

Nevertheless, the duration of temporary disability per claim in Wisconsin was tied with Iowa for the lowest of the 17 states in WCRI’s study.

“Wisconsin’s growth in indemnity was driven by growth in metrics like wages, but mostly by the duration of temporary disability,” said Sebastian Negrusa, vice president of research of WCRI. “Duration of temporary disability in Wisconsin grew by almost an entire week, but the average duration of disability in the state remained shorter than in most states — reigning in indemnity costs.”

Related: Illinois Indemnity Benefits Per Claim Rose in 2022

WCRI defines indemnity benefits as mainly benefits for temporary disability (total and partial), permanent partial disability benefits and benefits paid in the form of a lump-sum settlement. All lump-sum settlement payments (indemnity and medical) are reported as indemnity payments.

The institute’s study covered injury dates between 2017 and 2022 and payments through the end of March 2023. It found that indemnity benefits per claim in Wisconsin were $12,658 per claim.

“Comparing Wisconsin and other Midwest states shows that the average indemnity benefit per claim was slightly lower than those in Indiana and Michigan, but substantially lower than in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota,” the report said, noting that all Midwest states have different benefit structures and system features related to temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits.

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System features designed to encourage a faster return to work for workers are the main reason for lower indemnity benefits in Wisconsin, the study said. Other states included in the study are Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

WCRI’s study also found that higher prices paid compared to the typical study state kept Wisconsin’s medical payments per claim among the highest of the study states. The report, titled “CompScope™ Benchmarks for Wisconsin, 24th Edition,” was authored by Evelina Radeva.

Visit the WCRI website to access the full report.

Topics Wisconsin

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