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Paduda: COVID Is Crushing Work Comp Claim Counts

By Joe Paduda

Friday, August 7, 2020 | 806 | 0 | min read

Thank you, California Workers' Compensation Institute. Due to its diligence and foresight, we now know:

  • Joe Paduda

    Joe Paduda

    Through June 30 there were 14,487 COVID claims reported to California’s Division of Workers' Compensation.
  • This amounts to 6.3% of all confirmed COVID cases (data from Johns Hopkins).
  • The vast majority of COVID claims reported have been accepted.
  • And perhaps the most important data point: Total claims (COVID and non-COVID) dropped 36.4% from the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2020. 

Kudos to the fine folks at CWCI. They have produced the first data-based report on all things COVID. It is quite user-friendly, highly credible and interactive, allowing users to analyze California-specific COVID and non-COVID claims.

The tool enables comparison by industry, body part, nature and cause of injury, class code and region for claims (both filed claims and accepted claims) with dates of injury from Jan. 1 to June 30.

The tool also allows users to compare actual claim counts for the same time period in 2019 to current and projected counts for 2020.

Claim count, dear readers, is WAAAAAY more important than the rather minor financial impact COVID claims have had on workers’ comp. As I’ve reported previously, work comp COVID claims to date are not expensive. Despite the prognostications of others, it is unlikely, indeed, that COVID’s costs will have any material impact on work comp financials.

What WILL have an impact — and a very positive one — is the massive drop in total claim counts we’ve seen so far this year.

Yeah, I know, this is California-specific, and only for half a year, and not fully developed, and all that stuff. I also know a 36% drop in total claim counts is the biggest thing to hit the workers’ comp industry in ... forever. 

What does this mean to you?

Everything.

Joseph Paduda is co-owner of CompPharma, a consulting firm focused on improving pharmacy programs in workers’ compensation. This column is republished with his permission from his Managed Care Matters blog.

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