Conn. Quickly Delivers Benefits to Injured Workers

Injured workers in Connecticut get their benefits faster than\r\nthose in other states, according to a study by the Workers\r\nCompensation Research Institute.

Injured workers in Connecticut get their benefits faster than those in other states, according to a study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

Overall, expenses to deliver benefits to injured workers account for about 7 percent of total claim costs in Connecticut, compared with about 12 percent in California and Massachusetts.

At $927 per claim, benefit delivery expenses in Connecticut are lower in most other study states.

Expenses associated with delivering benefits to injured workers include legal costs, medical cost containment expenses and medical-legal examination fees.

"Across several components of benefit delivery expenses, including defense attorney expenses and medical cost containment expenses, we observed expenses in Connecticut that are lower than in most other states studied," said Dr. Richard Victor, executive director of the Cambridge, Mass.-based WCRI.

The study also found that defense attorney payments in Connecticut are the lowest of the states studied. Average defense attorney expenses in Connecticut at just over $750 per claim are one-third the average payment in California and Florida (over $2,500 per claim), the states in the study with the highest defense attorney payments (1997 claims as of mid-1999).

In addition, the study found that the time to payment to injured workers in Connecticut is improving. Between 1994 and 1998, the percentage of claims paid within 21 days of injury increased one to two percentage points per year.

"Opportunities to improve the speed of first payment remain, however," Victor said. Nearly 50 percent of injured workers in Connecticut received their first indemnity payment within 21 days of injury, close to the eight-state average of 51 percent. By contrast, 61 percent of workers in Wisconsin and nearly that percentage in Massachusetts received their first payment within 21 days of injury, according to WCRI.

by Virginia Foran

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