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Indemnity, medical and disability claims in New York have remained stable, and more workers are receiving their first indemnity payment within three weeks of an injury, according to a report released Thursday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based WCRI noted in the study, Monitoring Trends in the New York Workers Compensation System, 19th Edition, that all aspects of workers comp delivery system studied in the state have showed little movement in since 2014 after a period of increases spurred by substantial workers comp reforms implemented by the state in 2007.
From 2007 to 2014, indemnity benefits per claim increased 7% to 9% per year in New York — largely due to the 2007 reforms which increased the maximum weekly statutory benefits and capped the duration on permanent partial disability — while medical payments per claim grew more moderately at 3% to 4% per year during that same period. Since 2014, indemnity benefits per claim have increased 2% to 3% each year, depending on claim maturity, and medical claimants have grown 3% to 4%, according to the report.
Nonhospital payments have also remained relatively stable since 2014, with hospital outpatient payment per claim increasing an average of about 4%, despite a 2015 law that changed the reimbursement method for ambulatory surgical services.
Benefit delivery expenses, which saw increases of 6% to 7% each year beginning in 2007, appeared to stabilize, changing less than 0.5% between 2017 and 2018 for claims at one-year maturity.
The study also revealed that workers are receiving their first payments faster. In 2012, about a quarter of workers received their first indemnity payment within 21 days of injury. In 2017/2018, 43% of workers received their payment within three weeks. This change is likely due to new processes implemented by the New York Workers Compensation Board, according to the WCRI.
Medical payments for workers compensation claims grew in several states between 2012 and 2017, but legislative changes in some states have reduced comp payments, according to studies released Thursday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.