Effect Of COVID On Workers’ Compensation Claims
Since 2020, we have been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in all parts of the country, including New York. COVID can be transmitted in a variety of ways and places. Some people rarely went out of their house and still caught the disease. Others caught COVID while at school or in the workplace. Those treating COVID patients, such as nurses and doctors, faced the highest risk. In fact, reports state that more than 1,700 healthcare workers in the United States died from COVID just in the first six months of the pandemic.
A study, entitled “Monitoring Trends in the New York Workers’ Compensation System,” looked at how the coronavirus pandemic impacted workers’ compensation claims not related to COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic. The results of the study showed that during the height of the pandemic, workers’ compensation indemnity payments in New York increased but medical payments decreased. Indemnity payments refer to the losses paid directly to an insured by an insurance company.
A report from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found that indemnity payment amounts per claim grew 10% for non-COVID-19 claims from 2020. This is a huge increase considering that payments have been stable in New York since 2015. According to that same report, medical payments per claim actually decreased by 5% in 2020 and 2021. This is surprising considering that there was a rapid increase the previous year.
The WCRI believes that the increase in indemnity benefits and decrease in medical payments are likely due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on non-COVID-19 claims. It was also noted that the average number of weeks of temporary disability increased by one week in 2020-2021 in New York and several other states. This is likely because of economic conditions related to the pandemic.
There are a couple possible theories as to why workers’ compensation claims were impacted during the pandemic. The biggest factor is that doctors were not performing non-emergency medical procedures. Also, many people were avoiding medical care during the early stages of the pandemic unless absolutely necessary.
Prescription drug use also decreased from 2020-2021, leading to lower prices. The average prescription payment per claim and the percentage of claims with prescriptions were also lower than usual. These decreases are likely due to several factors, such as addressing unnecessary opioid use and use of the drug formulary, which became effective in December 2019.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Whether you are ill with COVID or some other disease or you suffered a workplace injury, you want to ensure you get the benefits you need to move on.
A work injury or illness deserves the maximum settlement possible. A White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon can help you navigate the often complex process and ensure that you obtain the compensation you need during this difficult time. Schedule a free initial consultation by filling out the online form or calling (914) 228-1770.