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California Workers' Compensation Payments Declined as a Share of Payroll in 2004

New Reports Track 15-Year Trend in Payments

For Immediate Release: July 26, 2006
Contact: Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097

To download the full report, click here.
To download a brief for the state of California, click here.

WASHINGTON, DC—After four years of growth, California workers' compensation payments declined in 2004 as a share of workers' wages, according to two studies issued today by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). Compared to the wages of workers covered by the program, benefit payments fell by 10 cents per $100 of payroll—from $2.01 per $100 in 2003 to $1.91 per $100 in 2004, the latest year for which data are available. The decline occurred entirely in payments to providers of medical care. Wage replacement benefits paid directly to California workers were constant at $0.98 per $100 of payroll in both 2003 and 2004.

The decline in medical payments per $100 of payroll stemmed, at least in part, from legislative changes enacted in 2003 and 2004 that were designed to reduce the cost of workers' compensation. The new laws will continue to affect medical and cash payments in 2005 and beyond.

In relation to payroll, California payments for workers' compensation remain higher than for the nation as a whole. While benefits in California were $1.91 per $100 of state covered payroll in 2004, national benefits were $1.13 per $100 of covered payroll.

More details may be found in the two documents released today by NASI. Workers' Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2004 is the ninth report in a series on workers' compensation that provides the only comprehensive national data on these state-run programs. Workers' Compensation in California: Benefits and Coverage, 2004 compares recent trends in workers' compensation for California and the nation as a whole. Both items are available on NASI's website, www.nasi.org.

EXPERTS TO CONTACT:

Ishita Sengupta
National Academy of Social Insurance
(202) 452-8097
isengupta@nasi.org

John F. Burton, Jr.
Study Panel Chair
Rutgers University
(732) 274-0600
jfburton@rci.rutgers.edu

Christine Baker
Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation
(510) 622-3959
cbaker@dir.ca.gov

Tom Rankin
Past President, California Labor Federation
(510) 499-8284
trankin@berkeley.edu

Fred Kilbourne
The Kilbourne Company
(858) 676-0360
fred@thekilbournecompany.com

Robert Steggert
Marriott International, Inc.
Washington, DC
(301) 380-4814
bob.steggert@marriott.com

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to promote understanding and informed policymaking on social insurance and related programs through research, public education, training, and the open exchange of ideas.

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