Average Total Cost of Tennessee Workers’ Comp Claim Among Lowest of Study States, Reflecting 2013 Reforms


Cambridge, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) - The average total cost of a Tennessee workers’ compensation claim in 2015 was among the lowest of study states, reflecting the effect of 2013 system reforms, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

“Most of the impact is seen in a reduction of worker attorney involvement and reduction of permanent partial disability (PPD) and lump-sum benefits,” said Ramona Tanabe, executive vice president and counsel of WCRI.

The study, CompScope™ Benchmarks for Tennessee, 19th Edition, compared Tennessee with workers’ compensation systems in 17 other states. Most of the 8 percent decrease in total costs per claim for 2015/2018 claims was from a 20 percent decrease in PPD benefits. For the study, WCRI analyzed workers’ compensation claims with experience through March 2018.

“The impact of the 2013 reforms resulted in a 20 percent reduction in the average PPD/lump-sum payment per claim,” says Tanabe. “Prior to the 2013 reforms, Tennessee had among the highest PPD/lump-sum payments per claim of the PPD study states.”

The following are among the study’s other findings:

  • Worker attorney involvement is now lower than most study states, likely related to multiple reform provisions, including new features of the mediation program, the new Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims, and changes in PPD benefit calculations.
  • Medical payments per claim remained lower than other states due to lower-than-typical prices paid, lower utilization of services, and lower-than-typical medical payments for hospital care.
  • Worth watching: introduction of medical treatment guidelines and a drug formulary, which became effective in January 2016.

To purchase a copy of this report, visit https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/compscope-benchmarks-for-tennessee-19th-edition.

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

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