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California accounted for 20.1% of cash, medical payments in 2020


California accounted for 20.1% of all cash and medical benefits paid to injured workers throughout the country in calendar year 2020, according to a California Workers’ Compensation Institute bulletin released Monday summarizing findings in a National Academy of Social Insurance report.

NASI reported state and federal work comp programs covered 135.6 million jobs and $8.69 trillion in payroll in 2020. Workers compensation paid $58.9 billion in benefits in 2020, including $27.7 billion for medical care and $31.2 billion in indemnity benefits.

Payments in 2020 were down 6.5% compared with 2019, largely the result of a decline in medical benefits during the first year of the pandemic.

“Although California was hit hard by COVID-19 and the ensuing recession in 2020, the state’s workers compensation system remained the largest in the country, with more than 16.1 million covered jobs, nearly $1.28 trillion in covered wages and close to $11.9 billion in benefit payments — just slightly below the combined total for New York, Florida and Pennsylvania, which ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, and more than 3.6 times the total paid to injured workers under federal programs,” CWCI said.

The $11.9 billion in benefit payments accounts for 20.1% of all benefit payments. The $5.9 billion in medical payments in California is about 21.3% of nationwide medical payments, while the $5.9 billion in indemnity was about 19.1% of nationwide indemnity payments.