California Workers’ Comp Claims Show Sharp Increase in Medical Costs

By Sheena Harrison

May. 25, 2012

California has seen a “steep” increase in medical costs for workers’ compensation claims despite reforms to the system in the last several years that initially reduced costs, according to the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute.

In a study released May 24, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based WCRI said California’s medical costs per workers’ comp claim increased 8 percent per year from 2005 to 2009. California saw a 30 percent overall decrease in costs from 2002 to 2005 after the state passed workers’ comp reforms during that period, the study said.

WCRI attributed the recent cost increase to such factors as an increased use of medical services in California, a workers’ comp fee schedule increase, and a higher percentage of claims that included costs for radiology services.

Sheena Harrison writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email

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Sheena Harrison writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management.

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