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Health care law not limiting workers comp doctor access

Health care law not limiting workers comp doctor access

A study of the first full year of the impact on workers compensation of President Barack Obama’s health care law found that the law has not limited workers comp claimants’ access to doctors, according to a report released by the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc.

The report, “Impacts of the Affordable Care Act on Workers Compensation,” used medical data from workers compensation claims from 2012 to 2014 to compare primary care utilization per claim. The timeline included the first year of expanded medical insurance under the national healthcare reform law.

The goal was to gauge whether the expansion of health care limited access to doctors for workers comp claimants — a hypothesis that was deemed to be unfounded after scouring data from 36 states, according to the study released Monday by the Boca Raton, Florida-based workers comp research and rating agency.

According to the NCCI report, researchers found “no discernible impact on crowding out workers compensation claimants.” 

The study did find that 68% of primary care services provided during the first 90 days of a workers comp claim occurred during the claim’s first 10 days.

Researchers also examined the potential impact on workers comp costs of the ACA’s wellness initiative to reduce obesity rates in the United States. They found that a 10% reduction in the average rate of obesity to 25% from the 35% of the U.S. adult population found to be obese in 2012 “might reduce workers compensation medical costs by 3% to 4%.” 




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