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Workers’ compensation benefits continue to rise

A new study reveals that workers’ compensation benefits are on the rise, which report authors say is a sign of an improving economy.

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unemployment office

Study reveals data on workers’ compensation benefits

Workers’ compensation benefits are on the rise again according to data collected by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). The report found that total benefits in 2011 were approximately $60 billion, which is an increase of 3.5 percent above the amount of benefits coverage being paid during the recession.

Although the amount of costs incurred by employers did rise in conjunction with increased benefits, the increase also goes along with better growth and earnings numbers in the marketplace.

This is great news for workers who either had no benefits or had to have a higher percentage of deductions taken from their paychecks in order to pay for the cost of benefits.

The report found that the share of benefits paid for medical care exceeded 50 percent in 33 states, and medical payments to providers increased by 4.5 percent to almost $30 billion. With more businesses covering higher percentages of benefits costs, employees net a higher amount of take home pay and can potentially increase their disposable income.

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Who got the most benefits?

After running the numbers, NASI found that the largest percentage increases in benefits occurred in Virginia (12.5), Iowa (12.2) and New York (10.7), respectively. Nevada, Oregon and New Hampshire were the states with the largest decreases in benefits with 11.3, 9.1 and 10.6 percent drops.

“The increase in workers’ compensation costs and coverage reflects, at least in part, the U.S. economy on its way to recovery with slow but positive employment and wage growth,” said the authors of the report.

Although unemployment rates are still high and there are those whose wages may have not yet returned to what they were pre-recession, the increase in benefits coverage is an indicator of improvements in the space, even though this report is retrospective.

This trend will allow for workers to opt in to benefits participation and not shy away from regular medical visits because of the significant amounts of money normally deducted for benefits costs. Increased coverage helps relieve some of that financial burden for employees and reflect positively on employers.

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Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.

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