YOUR WORKERS’ underlying health can greatly affect the amount of time they are off the job recovering from a workplace injury.

A new study has found that workers with pre-existing issues like hypertension, obesity and mental health spend 60% more time recovering from workplace injuries than healthy workers.

As those injured workers collect indemnity benefits during that extra time, the cost of a claim often increases substantially.

The findings in the study of more than 7,000 workers’ comp claims by Harbor Health Systems should be a wake-up call for employers to try to help workers address their health problems.

These types of claims also had higher rates of litigation and surgery.

  • Litigation rates for claims with multiple comorbidities increased 147%.
  • Litigation rates for addiction-related claims increased 224%.
  • Litigation rates for mental health-related claims rose 248%.

Litigation spikes

  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Addiction
  • Mental health
  • Tobacco use
  • Multiple comorbidities (one or more of the above)

The takeaway

The results of the study were a confirmation that underlying health problems will worsen outcomes. Only tobacco use seemed to have no discernable difference on claims outcomes.

Employers can encourage their employees to improve their health through company wellness plans and ensure that they have access to health insurance to treat their medical issues.

Claims management experts say that insurance company adjusters need to intervene early in cases where injured workers are saddled with these comorbidities.

LIFESTYLE HELP: Employers can encourage their workers to improve their health through wellness plans and ensure they have access to health insurance.


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