Workers’ Compensation Agency (WCA) gets its quarterly MiScorecard and it does not show much change.
Governor Rick Snyder created Michigan Dashboard to provide a quick assessment of state government. It is supposed to show progress and areas for improvement. We have been critical of this tool because the metrics are very one-sided and do not consider the human cost of workers’ compensation.
The WCA has now received its quarterly update but it does not show much change. Metrics for cost per claim, percentage of electronic data compliance filings, and duration of temporary total disability are updated annually. Cost of premium rankings is updated every other year. We have included some additional data below to provide even more perspective.
Changes to Michigan law permit employers to reduce lost wages based upon “wage earning capacity.” One of our disabled clients saw his weekly checks reduced to just $19 per week. We would like to see MiScorecard add metrics that focus less on business costs and more on disabled employees. How about a metric that compares weekly benefits to cost of living?
Metric 1: Cost Per Claim
This metric again shows 11.5% growth over a 4-year period. This is down from 12% growth. The WCA gets a passing grade (green) because it is significantly less than the target of 25% growth.
The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), a not-for-profit research organization, recently published its 16th edition of CompScope Benchmarks. These reports cover 60% of total workers’ compensation benefits paid across the United States. Michigan had the lowest average total cost per claim with more than 7 days of lost time.
Metric 2: Cost of Premium Ranking
The WCA gets a fair score (yellow) because it is currently ranked 34 lowest out of 50 states for cost of premium. Getting Michigan into the top 10 cheapest states is the target goal.
The pure premium rate will drop by an average of 9.3% in 2017. Michigan employers have now seen a 39% drop since 2011 workers’ compensation reforms were passed. This has resulted in estimated business savings of $390 million. The race to the bottom continues.
Metric 3: Electronic Data Compliance Filings Percentage
The WCA gets a failing grade (red) because it has not hit 50% for electronic data compliance filings. It currently sits at 26.5% of target.
This metric does not include budget information and how much is earmarked for technology upgrades. Many other states have web portals that allow employers and employees to accomplish much more.
Metric 4: Duration of Temporary Disability
The WCA receives a passing score (green) for reducing duration of disability from 17 to 16 weeks. The target is to get duration of weeks to just 15.
The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) released a study in 2016 that looked at workers’ compensation across the nation. Michigan saw an 18.6% reduction in total workers’ compensation benefits paid during the period 2010-2014. Michigan also saw a 15% decrease in medical benefits during the same time. Cash benefits declined 21.1%.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.