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Most occupational injury and illness costs are paid by the government and private payers
Date:5/25/2012

sts for occupational injuries and illnesses were primarily paid by these sources:
  • Workers' compensation: $29.86 billion
  • Other non-workers' compensation health insurance: $14.22 billion
  • Workers and their families: $10.38 billion
  • Medicare: $7.16 billion
  • Medicaid: $5.47 billion

He also found that only $21.86 billion in lost productivity costs are paid by workers' compensation insurers, with the remaining $160.68 billion covered by other sources, including workers and their families, the Social Security Disability fund and state disability funds.

"Cost-shifting affects everyone, because we're all paying higher Medicare and income taxes to help cover that 79 percent," said Leigh.

Leigh suggests three changes in current workers' compensation and employee health practices to reduce cost shifting and overall costs and to help ensure workplace safety:

  1. Eliminate the stigma often associated with filing workers' compensation claims by openly acknowledging the legitimacy of using workers' compensation insurance for occupational injuries.
  2. Encourage more states to adopt single-payer government-managed workers' compensation systems to save administrative costs.
  3. Link premiums with company-specific injury experience rather than industry-wide estimates, which would encourage companies to lower premiums by reducing workplace hazards.

"The ultimate goals should be to comprehensively address the way occupational health is managed and establish cultures of safety for workers," said Leigh.


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Contact: Karen Finney
karen.finney@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9064
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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