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Medical costs for COVID-19 workers compensation claims are averaging about $38,000 for claims involving hospitalizations, and pandemic-related shutdowns have led to a dramatic expansion in telehealth, according to research released Monday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
Boca Raton, Florida-based NCCI found that as of the second quarter, approximately 1,200 COVID-19 medical claims had been reported in workers compensation, with about 20% requiring an inpatient hospital stay, and 19% of those requiring some time in the intensive care unit. However, out of every 100,000 active workers comp claims, COVID-19 medical claims accounted for only about 200, depending on the jurisdiction.
Analyzing data from 41 jurisdictions, NCCI found that women account for about 70% of COVID-19 medical claims, likely because women represent a significantly greater portion of health care workers. The average coronavirus claimant is 46 years old, compared with the average 41 years of age for general workers comp claimants.
The researchers found that new workers comp claims dropped 15% from the first quarter of this year to the second quarter, and active claims declined 18% during that same period.
Telehealth use in workers comp increased from less than 1% before this year to about 14% by the second quarter.
The share of medical costs attributed to prescription drugs ticked up slightly from a decade low of 9% in the first quarter to 10% in the second quarter. The share of claims involving an opioid also increased slightly, from 33% in the first quarter to 34% in the second.
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
Years of profitable underwriting and healthy reserves in 2019 in the workers compensation sector will help the industry weather coronavirus-related claims and lower premium in the coming months, officials with the National Council on Compensation Insurance said Tuesday.