Posted on May 19, 2014
The costs of workers compensation insurance claims grew at an alarming rate over the past few years according to a study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Louisiana's 11 percent increase from 2007 to 2009 represents a double digit rise in claim benefits for temporary disability, medical payments, prescription costs and legal expenses.
Although the recession may be partially responsible, the WCRI acknowledges that recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina may have minimized the recession's impact on workers compensation costs. Louisiana's claim rate growth is still much larger than other states in the study.
During the time evaluated, the state added two additional weeks of temporary disability payments. Claim medical payments were also higher at 26 percent when compared to an average 16 percent for other states. The state of Louisiana also has the highest cost for prescription payments, defense attorney costs, medical cost containment and other legal expenses.
The state legislature views changes made in the 2009 workers comp treatment guidelines as a means to help reduce workers comp costs for insurance companies and employers as well as improving employee medical care.
While these many of these costs are not something Louisiana business owners can control, they can personally take action in the workplace to help save on workers compensation insurance premiums and aid in reducing claims costs. Creating a safe work environment and training employees on safety expectations can help to prevent worker injuries in the first place. When claims do occur, business owners need to pay attention to the claims process so that they stay on top of costs and help employees return to work as soon as possible.