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Study: Obesity Affects Duration of Workers' Compensation Benefits

June 20, 2012
Related Topics: Disabilities, Workers' Compensation, Medical Benefits Law, Latest News

The duration of workers' compensation indemnity benefits paid to obese workers is at least five times greater than those paid to claimants who are not obese but filed comparable claims, according to a new analysis.

Boca Raton, Florida-based NCCI Holdings Inc., a workers' comp ratings and research organization, released those findings June 19 after conducting a statistical analysis of claimants with comorbidity complication factors pointing to obesity.

The claims examined were provided by insurance companies operating in 40 states with data evaluated as of June 30, 2010. The study controlled for issues such as primary ICD-9 code, injury year, the U.S. state where claimants reside, industry, gender and age.

"The study shows that, based on temporary total and permanent total indemnity benefit payments, the duration of obese claimants is more than five times the duration of nonobese claimants," the report states.

"When permanent partial benefits are counted toward duration as well, this multiple climbs to more than six," according to NCCI.

The study's findings on the effect of obesity on indemnity duration are close to those reported in a 2007 Duke University Medical School study that found that obese workers file more claims, have higher medical costs, and miss more days due to job-related injuries than do their nonobese counterparts.

Roberto Ceniceros writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email

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