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In New Sign of Economic Recovery, Workers' Compensation Benefits, Employer Costs Rise

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Workers' compensation benefits, which often grow with employment and earnings, increased in 2011 as the U.S. economy continued its recovery.

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After declining in the wake of the recession, total benefits rose by 3.5 percent to $60.2 billion, according to a new report from the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI).  Total costs to employers rose by 7.1 percent to $77.1 billion.

The increase in benefits includes a 4.5 percent rise in medical care spending to $29.9 billion and a 2.6 percent rise in wage replacement (cash) benefits to $30.3 billion.

When benefits and costs are measured relative to total covered wages, benefits remained unchanged, and costs to employers rose very modestly (to $1.27 per $100 of wages) after declining in the previous five years.  

Workers' Compensation Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2011

Aggregate Amounts

2011

Percent

Change

Covered workers (in thousands)

125,833

1.1

Covered wages (in billions)

$6,049

3.9

Workers' compensation benefits (in billions)

60.2

3.5

        Medical benefits

29.9

4.5

        Cash benefits

30.3

2.6

Employer costs (in billions)

77.1

7.1

Amounts per $100 of covered wages

2011

Dollar

Change

Benefits paid

$1.00

$0.00

        Medical payments

0.49

0.00

        Cash payments to workers

0.50

-0.01

Employer costs

1.27

0.03

Source: National Academy of Social Insurance estimates. 

At the state level, the new report found coverage and wages increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Total benefits paid to injured workers increased in 29 jurisdictions, with benefits as a percent of total wages increasing in 17.  Employers' costs of workers' compensation as a percent of total wages increased in 31 states, and remained unchanged in four.  The share of benefits paid for medical care exceeded 50 percent in 33 states.

Workers' compensation was the first social insurance program in the United States; 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the first state laws.  NASI's report provides the only comprehensive data on workers' compensation benefits, coverage and employer costs for the nation, the states, the District of Columbia and federal programs.

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: The full report is available from NASI's website at www.nasi.org.  For a copy of the printed report, media can contact Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097 or by e-mail at jbraunstein@nasi.org. All others should contact Ishita Sengupta at isengupta@nasi.org.

EXPERTS TO CONTACT:

Ishita Sengupta

National Academy of Social Insurance
(202) 452-8097
isengupta@nasi.org

Marjorie Baldwin

(research)

Arizona State University

(480) 577-2771

Marjorie.baldwin@asu.edu

Virginia Reno

National Academy of Social Insurance
(202) 452-8097

vreno@nasi.org

Eric Nordman

(insurance regulator)

National Association of Insurance Commissioners

(816) 783-8005

enordman@naic.org

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to advance solutions to challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security.

SOURCE The National Academy of Social Insurance



RELATED LINKS
http://www.nasi.org

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