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IMA Human Resources Blog

WCRI CompScopeTM Reports Examine Cost Drivers And Impact Of Reform In Various State Workers’ Comensation Systems

The factors behind changing costs in state workers’ compensation systems, including the impact of legislative and regulatory reform on those costs, are examined in a new 18-state study released today by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). These comprehensive reference reports measure the performance of different state workers’ compensation systems, how they compare with each other, and how they have changed over time.

The reports, CompScope™ Benchmarks, 16th Edition, are designed to help policymakers and others benchmark state system performance or a company’s workers’ compensation program. The benchmarks provide an excellent baseline for tracking the effectiveness of policy changes and identifying important trends. They examine how income benefits, overall medical payments, costs, use of benefits, duration of disability, litigiousness, benefit delivery expenses, timeliness of payment, and other metrics of system performance have changed from 2009 through 2014, with claims experience through 2015.

“Whether you are trying to learn more about your state’s workers’ compensation system or how it compares to another state or the impact of reforms, this is an important tool that will help inform decisions,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel.

The following is a sample of the key findings from the 18 states:

• California’s average medical payment per workers’ compensation claim with more than seven days of lost time decreased in 2013 and 2014 after the state implemented the reform legislation, SB 863, in 2013.

• North Carolina’s indemnity benefits per claim remained substantially above the median state studied, but growth has slowed consistent with the aims of the 2011 reforms.

• The growth in payments per claim moderated in Louisiana since 2009.

• Illinois’ average total cost per workers’ compensation claim decreased 8 percent, primarily because of reduction in the medical fee schedule rates in 2011.

The study is based on more than 7.6 million claims filed in the 18 states, which together represent about 60 percent of the nation’s workers’ compensation benefits paid. The 18 states in the study are Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. There are individual reports for every state except Arkansas and Iowa.

To purchase any of these reports, visit

The Cambridge-based WCRI is recognized as a leader in providing high-quality, objective information about public policy issues involving workers’ compensation systems.


The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Since 1983, WCRI has been a catalyst for significant improvements in workers’ compensation systems around the world with its objective, credible, and high-quality research. WCRI’s members include employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.