National Academy of Social Insurance Study

Author Subject: National Academy of Social Insurance Study
Kay Posted At 20:39:12 06/10/2000


DATE: May 4, 2000
Jill Braunstein or
Daniel Mont, Ph.D.
(202) 452-8097

OREGON Workers’ Compensation payments DECLINE
between 1996 and 1998

National Academy of Social Insurance Study Shows
Benefit and Cost Trends through 1998

WASHINGTON, DC -- In Oregon, workers’ compensation benefits totaled $493 million in 1998, a
decrease of 2.6 percent over the 1996 level of $506 million, according to a new report released today by
the National Academy of Social Insurance (see Figure 1). These payments were for medical care and cash
benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses.

For the nation, workers’ compensation benefit payments decreased slightly over the same period from
$42.1 billion in 1996 to $41.7 billion in 1998. Total costs to employers in 1998 were $52.1 billion, down
about 5.8 percent from $55.1 billion in 1996.

These totals, however, are not adjusted for inflation, the growth in wages, nor for the expanding size the
covered workforce. When adjusted for the size of the covered workforce and the wages of covered
workers, benefits and costs declined sharply from their all-time highs for the nation. As a share of payroll,
benefits declined by 35 percent between 1992 and 1998, from 1.66 to 1.08 percent of payroll, while
employer costs declined by 38 percent between 1993 and 1998, or from 2.17 to 1.35 percent of payroll
(see Figure 2).

John F. Burton, Jr., of Rutgers University and chair of the Academy Study Panel that oversees the project,
explained, “The declining national costs reflect a variety of changes, many of which were no doubt
prompted by reactions to rapidly rising costs in the 1980s and early 1990s.” According to Burton, “Causes
of the decline in benefits and costs probably include: fewer accidents, improvements in the operation of
workers’ compensation programs, the active management of medical care, more effective return-to-work
programs, and tightening of eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.”

The report, Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 1997-1998, New Estimates, is the
third in a series begun by the National Academy of Social Insurance to provide the only comprehensive
national data on this state-run program. The study provides estimates of workers’ compensation payments
– cash and medical – for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the few federal programs providing
workers’ compensation benefits.

“Because workers’ compensation statutes are enacted and administered at the state level and each state has
its own program in terms of benefits, financing, administration, and who is covered,” Burton noted, “it is
essential to have comprehensive and consistent national data to evaluate the impact of these programs on
workers and employers.”

In providing health care and cash benefits to disabled workers and their families, workers’ compensation is
second in size only to Social Security disability insurance and Medicare. In 1998, Social Security paid
$48.2 billion to disabled workers under age 65 and their dependents, and Medicare paid $27.6 billion for
hospital and medical care for those disabled workers. These two federal programs provide protection to
workers regardless of the source of the disability, unlike the workers’ compensation programs, which deal
only with the consequences of work-related injuries and diseases.

National Academy of Social Insurance
Steering Committee on Workers’ Compensation

Daniel Mont 202-452-8097
Senior Research Associate
National Academy of Social Insurance
Washington, D.C.

John F. Burton, Jr. 732-445-5993
Dean, School of Management and Labor Relations
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey
For written comments see Professor Burton’s website at

Jim Ellenberger 202-637-5206
Assistant Director
Department of Occupational Safety and Health
Washington, DC

Robert Steggert 301-380-7499
President, National Council of Self-Insurers, and
Vice President, Casualty Claims
Marriott International, Inc.
Betheda, MD

# # #

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization comprised of the
nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to conduct research and enhance public understanding
of social insurance, develop new leaders, and provide a nonpartisan forum for the exchange of ideas in the field.
For more information on the National Academy of Social Insurance call (202) 452-8097.

National Academy of Social Insurance
1776 Massachusetts Avenue, NW w Washington, DC 20036 w (202) 452-8097 w fax (202) 452-8111


Index of National and State Press Releases

Back to NASI Home

Del Re: National Academy of Social Insurance Study (Currently 0 replies)
Posted At 15:12:20 06/11/2000

Excellent work Kay! Keep these excellent postings coming!

There's a graph here showing the decline of workers' comp benefits in Oregon. As usually, Oregon government can claim it's a leader in workers' comp reforms (deforms).

This data SHOULD make it impossible for ANYONE to dispute the destruction that deforms have caused. All we seem to here from Oregon government is how benefits have increased. (they don't tell you that getting them is damn near impossible) These reports are thorougly researched and come from experts, including Jim Ellenberger.

The material that Kay copied above can be found here.

A Webpage I recommend is here.
Kay Re: National Academy of Social Insurance Study (Currently 0 replies)
Posted At 19:19:20 06/11/2000

A note of interest------Edward Welch, the Michigan professor who was hired
to do the study on Oregon's Workers Comp system (specifically, "major
contributing cause", is a member of the steering committee for the National
Academy of Social Insurance.

Post Reply:

This message board has been closed in regard to posting new messages and follow-ups although pages can be viewed. Page loading time had become excessive. Please use the "Message Forum" link from our Main Page here to contribute to our new and improved forum.

[ To the IW Forum | Forum FAQ ]