NCCI Releases First Look at COVID-19 Impact on Medical Treatment in Workers’ Comp

NCCI recently announced the release of its first research report with insights on the medical component of 2020 claim activity, including COVID-19 claims: COVID-19’s Impact on Medical Treatment in Workers Compensation — A First Look at 2020.

NCCI noted that there is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have a measurable impact on medical treatment of injured workers in the workers compensation (WC) system. The question is…to what extent? The simple answer is a single metric, and that is time. It may be years before we grasp the full effect of this pandemic on WC. However, the effect of COVID-19 on WC can be assessed by monitoring the data as it comes through and having it tell the story as it develops.

NCCI is undertaking several activities to better understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the WC system. One action is monitoring several medical data-related metrics, which were developed to provide insight into the effect of COVID-19 on several aspects of the medical system as it relates to WC. These metrics track quarterly results over time, allowing us to compare the data before the onset of the pandemic and workers compensation medical experience thereafter.

In the article NCCI shares some of the aggregated-multi-state results for these metrics including data from the first (1Q20) and second quarter of 2020 (2Q20). As data emerges, future updates to these metrics will be available on A medical data dashboard will include state-specific results, allowing the user to compare a state’s experience to a multi-state benchmark.

Key findings included:

Hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) treatment are key cost indicators of COVID-19 claims
Overall active claim volume decreased during 2Q20
Increased use of telemedicine in 2Q20, to varying degrees across states
Evaluation and management and physical medicine show a decrease in the utilization of in-person services in 2Q20
The share of claims with surgery has remained steady, but the decreased intensity of surgery procedures seems to reflect a change in injuries or surgery mix
Drug share of medical costs took an upward turn, in part driven by increased utilization of opioids
Read the free report: COVID-19’s Impact on Medical Treatment in Workers Compensation — A First Look at 2020 (PDF)

View Original Press Release


Founded in 1923, the mission of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is to foster a healthy workers compensation system. In support of this mission, NCCI gathers data, analyzes industry trends, and provides objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. These activities—combined with a comprehensive set of tools and services—make NCCI the source you trust for workers compensation information.