Workers’ Compensation Costs Up 17.5% in 2002, Study Says
"Surging medical expenses" in 2002 caused workers' compensation payments in California to increase by 17.5% to $11.3 billion, according to a National Academy of Social Insurance study released Monday, the Sacramento Bee reports. In 2002, California's workers' compensation payments were "by far the largest payout of any state," with medical expenses increasing by 26.5% and cash benefits by 9.7% from 2001. The total national payout for workers' compensation benefits in 2002 rose by 7.4% to $53.4 billion from 2001.
Lead researcher John Burton of Rutgers University said the workers' compensation reform measures passed last year should help rein in future state spending in the program. Burton said in a statement, "Benefit increases are likely to be much more modest once these statutory changes take effect" (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 8/24).