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Average medical payments for California workers compensation claims increased sharply between 2005 and 2011, although medical cost containment has shifted some medical payment expenditures, the California Workers' Compensation Institute said Monday.
Oakland, Calif.-based CWCI analyzed data from 1.9 million California workers comp claims between January 2002 and September 2012. Average medical payments for indemnity claims rose to $6,845 in 2011, up 60.2% from $4,273 in 2005, CWCI said.
Meanwhile, average medical payments for all California workers comp claims climbed to $2,543 in 2011, up 51.7% from $1,677 in 2005.
Average payments for indemnity claims that included pharmaceuticals and durable medical equipment between 2005 and 2011 rose 187.6% to $801, the report said. Average pharmaceutical and durable medical equipment payments for all California workers comp claims during that time increased 171.3% to $276.
The report showed that medical treatment represented 73% of medical payment costs in 2011, compared with 79.4% in 2005. However, medical cost containment expenses represented 13.9% of medical payment costs in 2011, compared with 11.6% in 2005.
CWCI said early analysis of 2012 claims showed that average medical payments for workers comp claims showed “marginal” declines in the first three and six months after an occupational injury.
California's workers compensation premium volume in 2012 reached its highest level since 2007, rising $1.2 billion to $9 billion.