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Workers compensation claimants younger than 60 have higher medical claim costs for medical payments made 20 and 30 years after their initial injury compared with claimants who are age 60 or older, the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. said Monday in a report.
The average late-term medical cost for claimants born between 1951 and 1970 was $10,700, according to “The Impact of Claimant Age on Late-Term Medical Costs,” 64% higher than the average annual late-term medical cost of $6,500 for claimants born between 1920 and 1950.
The study was based on medical services provided during 2011 and 2012 for claimants who were injured 20 to 30 years prior.
Younger workers comp claimants who received medical payments decades after their work injuries were three times more likely to be quadriplegic or paraplegic than older claimants, the Boca Raton, Florida-based workers comp ratings and research organization said in the report.
Younger claimants also were more likely to receive narcotic painkiller prescriptions, which NCCI said contributed to higher medical costs.
Physicians in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey prescribed Schedule II narcotics to injured workers more frequently than physicians in other states, according to reports released Thursday by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute.