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Comp Pays More Than Group Health for Similar Medical Services

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  • Topic: NATIONAL
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Workers' compensation insurers pay more for medical services than group health pays to treat comparable injuries, according to a research report released Friday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.

In examining the workers' comp experiences from NCCI’s medical data call, which captures transaction-level details — service, charges, payments, procedure codes and diagnosis codes — on medical bills processed on or after July 1, 2010, for 35 states, researchers found that costs for chronic injuries in comp are 235% higher and 160% higher for acute injuries.

Specifically, acute “traumas to arms and legs consistently have smaller cost and utilization differences in WC, while chronic pain-related injuries, such as bursitis and back pain,” have larger differences, according to the report.

Also, a more expensive mix of procedures in complex workers' compensation cases contributes to higher costs relative to group health, especially for referral-based care such as radiology and surgery, according to the report.

For acute injuries, quantity of services accounts for nearly 90% of the entire cost differential between workers' comp and group health. For chronic injuries, differences in quantity account for four-fifths of higher comp costs, according to the report.

Business Insurance is a sister publication of WorkCompCentral. More stories are here.

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