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Workers’ Comp Study Shows Wisconsin Pays More For Health Care

Originally posted by Shamane Mills on http://news.wpr.org

A new study on worker’s compensation by an independent think tank shows Wisconsin paid more for health care in 2009 than other states, but overall costs for workers’ compensation were lower than 15 other states studied. One reason is that replacement income for injured workers in Wisconsin is less.

Workers’ compensation insurance is purchased by employers to provide benefits to employees who become ill or injured on the job. The coverage includes medical costs and partial replacement of income while the employee is out of work.

Sharon Belton is with the Workers Compensation Research Institute. She analyzed 16 states that represent nearly 60 percent of all worker comp claims in the nation, including Wisconsin. “On the one hand, you have higher medical payments driven largely by higher prices for medical care,” she said, “offset by lower indemnity payments due to features of the Wisconsin system that promote [a] return to work.”

Wisconsin employers can pay those who return injured but well enough to work 85 percent of the wage they received before being hurt. An advisory committee made up of labor and business interests is currently looking at ways to trim worker compensation costs, particularly high medical bills.