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WCIRB Releases Study on the Impact of the Affordable Care Act on California Workers’ Compensation

The WCIRB has released its Impact of the Affordable Care Act on California Workers’ Compensation study. This study utilized data from the WCIRB’s medical transactional and unit statistical report databases to gauge the impact from increased access to health care through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on California’s workers’ compensation system. Specifically, the study examines injured workers’ access to care, fees for medical services, claim frequency in industries most affected by the ACA, and change in diagnostic mix related to comorbidities.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Injured worker access to care did not change after ACA implementation. The average wait time of one day for the first physician visit remained the same. 
  • There was no clear pattern of increased physician fees after the ACA was implemented. 
  • Overall frequency of workers’ compensation claims did not decrease in industries most affected by the ACA relative to frequency in other industries. 
  • The share of claims with soft tissue injuries, post ACA implementation, decreased more in smaller businesses and industries that had lower levels of health insurance prior to the ACA.
  • The share of claims with comorbidities of hypertension, obesity and diabetes decreased in industries with lower levels of health coverage prior to the ACA, while the share did not change in industries with higher levels of health coverage. Since available WCIRB information on comorbidities is very limited, it is not possible to draw meaningful conclusions related to comorbidities.

The complete study is available at the link below and in the Research section of the WCIRB website (wcirb.com). 

 

May 3, 2018