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Recent Survey Asks Employees What the Workers’ Compensation System Can Improve

Recent Survey Asks Employees What the Workers’ Compensation System Can ImproveAccording to data shared by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), an average of 10.5% of workers surveyed in 15 different states never returned to work following a workplace injury. Between 11% and 20% of respondents also reported being “very dissatisfied” with their care. It is well known that the longer an injured employee is away from the job, the less likely they are to return at all. And of course the more time an injured worker spends recovering away from work, the more money the employer has to pay out in workers’ compensation benefits, so of course it is in the best interest of all parties to improve the workers’ compensation system and help injured workers recover quickly, and in a satisfactory manner without a lot of obstacles.

The survey done by researchers with the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based WCRI was organized as a way to help policymakers and workers compensation stakeholders better understand the performance of the workers comp system from a worker point of view and identify opportunities for improvement.

The workers that were interviewed for this survey came from a variety of different states including; Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The results were detailed in separate 126-page reports for all 15 states, and were also combined into another set of reports in order to identify which issues are localized and those which are common across multiple states. Of the combined reports, some of the key findings are detailed below.

Service and Provider Woes

An average of 16.7% of the claimants that were interviewed reported having difficulties when attempting to get the health services they wanted or accessing the physicians that they requested. Additionally, between 12% and 21% of injured workers reported “big problems” getting the services that they or their primary provider wanted for them, with 10 of the states falling in the higher end of the range at between 17% and 18%.

Each state has its own set of rules and guidelines in place within their workers’ comp system regarding the services and health care providers that can treat an injured worker. In some states, such as Florida, the doctor must be approved by the workers’ comp insurance carrier. In some other states a worker may have the ability to select the doctor of their choice, but most states utilize some form of system through which providers must show certain competencies regarding workers’ compensation claims to be permitted to treat injured workers.

Earning Less

An average of 7.9% of workers surveyed reported earning “a lot less” due to injury at the time of the interview. Workers’ comp benefits often pay a percentage of the average weekly wage that the worker earned prior to being injured. In many cases, the injury may affect the employee with a long term disability, leading them to have to take a lower-paying position once they are able to work again. Workers’ compensation insurance brokers have been promoting return-to-work programs as a way to better set a worker up for recovery after a work injury, but there is certainly room for improvement in terms of ensuring workers are adequately compensated while recovering.

About ASIA Workers’ Compensation

Associated Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. has been “The Workers’ Compensation Specialist for Brokers and Agents” for the past two decades and is committed to providing brokers and insurance agents across the East Coast with expertise and services to develop a Workers’ Compensation policy. For more information about how we can assist you with claims management, anti-fraud measures, and more call (610) 543-5510 to speak with one of our professionals.

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