Workers’ compensation benefits fell to $57.5 billion in 2010 following a 2.1 percent decrease in medical benefits of injured workers, according to a report released by the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Additionally, costs for workers’ comp dropped by 2.7 percent in 2010, which puts employers’ costs in 2010 at the lowest in the past three decades.
“Employers’ costs as a percent of payroll declined in 43 jurisdictions,” says John F. Burton Jr., chair of the study panel that oversees the report. “This decline is probably due to the slow pace of the recovery with many jurisdictions still experiencing relatively high unemployment rates.”
While most states experienced a decrease in the total workers covered, they also faced higher covered wages between 2009 and 2010, and the total amount of benefits paid to injured workers dropped in 26 jurisdictions but grew in 25 jurisdictions, the report finds. Benefits that were compensated to injured workers dropped by three cents to $0.99 per $100 of payroll in the nation.
Based on the report, the share of medical benefits for workers’ comp has seen major growth over the last 40 years. In fact, national medical benefits made up 30 percent of total benefits in the 1970s but reached nearly 50 percent in 2010, which is attributed to higher health care costs.