The National Academy of Social Insurance released a report Tuesday, August 26, showing that U.S. workers’ compensation medical and indemnity benefit payments declined 1.5 percent to $54.7 billion during 2006.
The nationwide decrease in payments was largely a result of a 7.2 percent decrease in California, which implemented reforms in 2003 and 2004. California’s decrease in payments stemmed mostly from a drop in cash benefits, while the state’s medical spending changed little during 2006 after falling 16 percent in 2005.
“Because it is a large state—accounting for 18.6 percent of national benefit payments in 2006—California altered national trends,” a National Academy statement said. “Outside California, total workers’ compensation payments were almost unchanged in 2006.”
In total, U.S. employers paid $87.6 billion in workers’ comp costs during 2006, according to the NASI report. Employer and insurer representatives participated in preparing the report for NASI, a Washington-based nonprofit research organization.