Not Over You...Yet
Impact of the ACA on Workers' Compensation
Is anyone sick of this topic yet? The ACA, that is, which is also fondly known as the Affordable Care Act, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare and other not so “PC” terms depending on if you’re a supporter or non-supporter of this sweeping legislation. As sick of this topic as many of us may be, I, like you at this very moment, find myself clicking on every article even remotely related to the ACA.
Many of us want to know what the ACA will ultimately mean for individuals, companies, the government, our healthcare system…etc. But what about – dare I say – workers’ compensation? How is it impacted by the ACA? Well, let’s take a look…
A healthier workforce. An increased focus on wellness, preventative care and overall physical health will result in a healthier workforce population. A healthier workforce generally translates into less on-the-job injuries.
For example, an individual may discover they’re on the cusp of diabetes subsequent to a doctor visit (or as a result of a company biometric screen). A part of their physician’s assessment will include an improved diet, which will result in a healthier employee (if they listen to their doctor’s advice!). It’s simple, but it’ll make the most positive impact on the health of the employee, reducing days away from work and enhancing productivity. Additionally, implementing your own workplace health programs will encourage healthy habits and improve overall awareness.
Higher medical costs. It’s no secret that one of the main cost drivers of workers’ compensation is medical costs. The average medical cost per lost-time claim increased by 4% in 2014, following increases of 2-3% in each of the prior three years. With the introduction of the ACA, will that trend decrease or continue to increase? Most seem to conclude it will increase. With more individuals being required to carry healthcare, the detection of medical issues will increase the need of prescribed medication. Additionally, more physicians and medical personnel will need to be added to the system to serve the increase in patients. These factors will certainly drive medical costs up.
Decrease in fraudulent workers’ compensation claims. As a result of the ACA’s individual mandate, more people will have access to health insurance – which means less reason to file a workers’ compensation claim for non-work-related injuries that occur over the weekend, at home, pretty much anywhere but the job. The direct impact of this will be lower workers’ compensation claim costs (fewer claims being filed) and ultimately, a reduction in premiums over the long haul. Massachusetts implemented their own version of the ACA in 2006 and enjoyed a 16.7% reduction in workers’ compensation claims over the course of five years. Now THAT’S some great news!
- Workers' Compensation E-Book
- Workers' Compensation Videos
- 2016 Industry Outlook Video: Staffing
- True or False- Healthcare Reform Impacts Workers' Comp Costs
- Top 3 Workers' Compensation Trends for Staffing Firms & PEO
- ACA Blog Articles
- Staffing White Paper: MEC and MVP Plans Take the Stand
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