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Long COVID present in small number of comp claims: Study

long covid

A small percentage of employees with COVID-19 workers compensation claims during the early days of the pandemic received additional medical care in the months after their diagnosis due to long COVID, according to a study.

The Workers Compensation Research Institute on Thursday released a study that found 7% of workers with COVID-19 claims developed “long COVID,” and that “long COVID” was most prevalent among workers who were hospitalized during the early stage of the disease.

The study showed that among workers who received medical care during their infected period, around 20% received “long COVID” treatment and about 33% of workers who received both medical care and indemnity payments were similarly treated for lingering symptoms.

About 74% of workers treated early on for the virus in intensive care units also received long COVID treatment.

Workers comp claims for "long COVID" saw higher than average medical payments, indemnity benefits and longer durations of temporary disability than COVID-19 claims not involving "long COVID," the researchers reported.

Medical payments in comp cases also increased when factoring in "long COVID," with average payments for claims involving "long COVID" rising above $25,000 while average medical payments for claims not involving "long COVID" were around $3,000, the study states.

The study determined the majority of medical costs were connected to workers who were hospitalized or admitted to intensive care units during the early stages of the infection.

Average costs for these types of claims rose above $50,000 for hospitalized workers and above $150,000 for those with ICU care. 

The study analyzed COVID-19 cases where the initial date of infection was between March 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020.