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Workers compensation medical severity fell about 1% from 2014 to 2015, marking the first time that medical severity has fallen since 1994, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc.
Boca Raton, Florida-based NCCI pointed to a 3% decline in physician service utilization as “a major driver” in lower workers comp medical severity.
“With physician services representing approximately 40% of (workers comp) medical costs, their decrease is the largest contributor to the 1% decrease in overall (accident year) 2015 paid medical costs per claim," said NCCI, which based its report on the 38 states where it provides workers comp ratemaking services.
NCCI said in the report that the mix of injuries covered under workers comp has remained stable between 2012 and 2015, with musculoskeletal and connective tissue injuries comprising the majority of workers comp medical payments each year.
NCCI said it is "undertaking further research" into the workers comp medical severity decline.
Workers compensation medical costs are “significantly higher” in New Hampshire than in other states, according to the state's insurance department.