The latest WCRI CompScope Benchmarks report for Louisiana once again found that cost per claim in the state has been flattening since 2011, although all cost components remain higher than average. The researchers note the flattening trend as evidence of stabilization, after cost per claim had been rising at five percent per year between 2008 and 2010. Indemnity costs per claim, according to a WCRI release, were higher in Louisiana because the average duration of temporary disability was 8 to 15 weeks longer than in other states with a wage-loss benefit system. Lump-sum settlements also drove indemnity costs higher. Off-setting this finding though is the fact that Louisiana’s wages and employment have been strong and growing post-recession, accounting for some of the “higher than average” indemnity costs. Above-average medical costs were attributed to higher hospital outpatient payments per service. The percentage of claims with defense attorneys and the average payment defense attorneys received per claim grew from 2008 to 2013.
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