The Benefit Services Group (BSG) and HC Trends released a new report this week on prioritizing reforms for the worker’s compensation program. This report was completed with the support of the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society. Not only is BSG a credible employer benefit services company on its own, but BSG recently merged with Hausmann-Johnson Insurance, one of the largest worker’s compensation insurance agents in the state.
The report describes many of the benefits of Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation system, and concludes that by focusing on the unit prices, fee schedules ignore the number and appropriateness of medical services provided. For example, Wisconsin providers billed 26 percent fewer office visits per claim and provided 13 percent fewer services per visit than the national average. Wisconsin also has 20 percent fewer inpatient hospital stays compared to the average. In other words, according to the report, Wisconsin providers consistently perform above the national average when you look at the total cost of care—from time of initial diagnosis to the completion of treatment.
The report also quantifies the value to employers of the current system. For example, Wisconsin employees return to work three weeks sooner than average, and according to HC Trends, this translates to a direct savings to employers of $4,800 to $6,600 for the average injured employee. Further, Wisconsin has the second lowest percentage of injured workers who never return to work. This is significant because every replacement worker will cost employers an estimated $185,000, according to HC Trends.