How to Deal with Rising Workers’ Comp Costs

It’s no secret that workers’ compensation costs are a major headache for companies struggling to keep the lid on spiraling expenses. It becomes even more troubling when the same medical procedures often cost more under workers’ compensation than under other forms of coverage.

Understandably companies are actively seeking ways to trim excesses in workers’ compensation expenses.

As an example of how to take control of workers’ comp costs, an Illinois firm came up with a set of guidelines to address key concerns such as medical necessities, the length of disability, and how quickly an employee can return to work. The idea is not to deny needed services, but to cut out what is believed to be excessive in the overall handling of an individual’s treatment.

The guidelines produced the desired results.

Over a three-year period the company trimmed the average cost of a claim from $3,600 to $1,550. The strength of having these guidelines is that all parties begin from a similar framework, said one official.

Not surprisingly, company officials began taking a closer look at compensation costs when they learned they were charged $9,600 for an x-ray of a finger.

That same employer also began asking doctors why they make particular recommendations that broadly deviate from the company’s established guidelines. The idea is to pay reasonable charges for specific situations and avoid excessive treatments and prolonged time off the job.

Savings to companies can be substantial when treatment costs are trimmed and the duration of a disability is shortened. Returning to the job if only for light duty is more desirable to employers than having a worker sit at home.

In fact, some experts say it is even better for the employee to return to work as soon as possible. Lengthy periods off the job sometimes result in the person not returning to the job. Inactivity can be counter-productive and actually prolong an individual’s recovery.

Some employers try to curb high compensation claims by not hiring physically-unqualified candidates.

The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 permits employers to require potential employees to meet specific physical requirements.  This can help eliminate individuals with a potential for high-risk injuries.

With little relief on the horizon, employers need to identify every aspect of workers’ compensation costs with a creative eye on trimming expenses wherever they can.

If you’re looking for help in reducing your workers’ compensations costs, consider engaging the OptiStaffing Group to bring you reliable and skilled employees. Placing our workers on assignment at your site means we usually are responsible for workers’ compensation for our employees. Contact us today for more information.

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