The New Holy Grail in Workers' Compensation
In 2012, National Council of Compensation Insurers (NCCI) conducted a study. This entity collects a lot of data on Workers’ Compensation claims in most of the states in the U.S. Their study has one simple conclusion: claims with comorbidity issues cost double than claims without. On average, the claim went from $6,000 to $12,000.
Shortly after these results were published, many other studies began looking at the overall cost of comorbidity on Workers’ Compensation insurance. They defined comorbidity a set of comorbid conditions such as diabetes, depression, hypertension, obesity and tobacco use. A study performed by Coventry, a Workers’ Compensation claims administrator, had even more specific data than the NCCI. Their study isolated certain types of Workers’ Compensation claims against certain comorbidity issues. For instance, when they looked at strain claims (these claims tend overall to have the highest costs) and isolated obesity and depression, the results were astounding. Obesity increased the costs of claims by five times and depression tripled the cost of the claims. Quite incredible increases.
After the NCCI study was published, most companies that view safety as a key component to their culture began incorporating wellness activities into their safety training. They view wellness as the component that specifically targets comorbidity issues. Suddenly, there was a desire to integrate the wellness programs that’ve been used in health insurance into Workers’ Compensation insurance. Great safety companies no longer think of comorbidity costs as solely group health-related concerns. Wellness programs and protocols such as smoking cessation, EAP Programs, fitness programs, healthy eating and stress relief are all now a part of great safety cultures.
It’s time to examine the Workers’ Compensation safety efforts at your manufacturing or waste company. You should ask yourself, “Does our company address comorbidity issues through our safety program?” If your answer is no, it’s time to figure out how to incorporate wellness into your approach. As an extra incentive, other studies have shown that comorbidity also reduces efficiencies and increases absenteeism. Good luck with improving your safety program by adding wellness, the new Holy Grail, to your arsenal.
Not sure where to start? Check out our Winning with Wellness Infographic, offering 10 tips for creating your wellness culture.
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