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N.Y. workers comp reforms result in increased benefits, lower drug costs: WCRI

Posted On: Oct. 10, 2012 12:00 AM CST

Workers compensation reforms passed by New York in 2007 have increased benefits for injured workers while lowering prescription drug costs by up to 20%, according to the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

In a report released Tuesday, the Cambridge, Mass.-based WCRI noted that New York’s maximum weekly benefits increased 50% between 2007 and 2009 and have since been set at two-thirds of the state’s average weekly wage. As a result, New York’s average weekly temporary total disability benefits have increased 26% since the benefit increases were approved in 2007, the WCRI said.

Meanwhile, a pharmacy fee schedule set under New York’s 2007 comp reforms has reduced the average price per pill between 10% to 20%, the WCRI said. The report said that New York’s drug costs remain elevated, in part, by a “higher-than-typical” number of narcotic prescriptions compared to other states.

The 2007 reforms also resulted in a 12 percentage point increase in workers comp cases that received a lump-sum settlement with no permanent partial disability benefits, the WCRI said. Cases that received PPD benefits with no settlement fell by 13.5 percentage points.