10 Feb Affordable Care Act Impact on Workers Compensation Costs
At the 2016 NCCI Symposium, Leonard F Herk, Phd and Senior Economist for NCCI shared research on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on Workers Compensation. You can see Dr. Herks Powerpoint here.
There was some concern that the pent up demand for healthcare that existed would flood the medical community once all the uninsured were insured. Dr. Herk was able to evaluate both states that did expand Medicare and those that did not, which provided excellent control groups, and his findings were that there were no visible “crowding out” access for workers compensation injured workers as a result of the increase in people who were insured.
The second part of his research was on whether the Affordable Care Acts Wellness benefits would have a positive effect on workers compensation by controlling co-morbids. Dr. Herk specifically focused on obesity because there are so many studies to utilize already in existence. Dr. Herk found that when a claim is coded with obesity as a comorbid the costs can be significantly higher, some studies reflect a more modest 3-4% cost reduction with a 10% reductions in obesity. Thus if the wellness initiatives under the Affordable Care Act are successful, there could be a material reduction in the cost of Workers Compensation claims.
I guess the only question that remains now is will the Affordable Care Act be around to continue to study and watch the impact, or will we be back to page one and waiting to see the impact of the new healthcare law from Washington?