The workers’ compensation system is already in crisis, what with an aging workforce and labor shortages to contend with. It is unfortunate then that federal government policies relating to health insurance and immigration are set to lead to many more claims and much increase costs in the future according to one workers’ comp economist.
Dr. Richard Victor, who is, as well as being a workers’ compensation researcher and economist, a fellow at the Sedgwick Institute, as you can see at insurancejournal.com/, believes that workers’ comp claims could double in the next 12 years, with costs potentially rising by a huge 300 percent in the same period.He says that despite the fact claims have been stable in recent years, some outside forces could cause more cases to enter the system, which on top of normal growth levels in indemnity and medical costs, could cause a tipping point.
He believes that this could come to pass because working people are getting older, labor shortages are starting to emerge on a wider scale, and immigration is being slowed down, on top of the fact that a lot of workers’ comp cases should actually be health insurance cases, but the government is passing them on, and the organization can’t handle them.
Much of the blame for these issues could arguably be pointed at President Trump’s policies. The current president has not only changed immigration policies, which has meant fewer immigrants entering the system and a shortage of labor, but he and his administration are also set to stop subsidies and repeal or weaken various aspects of the affordable care act – something that is already happening with the shunting of cases from health insurance to workers’ comp – this could increase indemnity claims by 35 percent in just over a decade.
Dr. Victor is particularly worried that the way workers comp has been run for the last century simply will not cut it as we go forward and especially as the current administration seeks to change various aspects of workers’ lives.
There are also some worries that the aging population and dire labor situation could lead to more accidents, which would mean more people paying for slip and fall attorney services, for example, and suing their employers, but more importantly to more people becoming inured in the workplace and putting even more pressure on the system. If the system gets significantly out of balance as Dr. Victor thinks they may well do then times will be tough for the average worker.
All of this is even more difficult to swallow considering that claims should be down 73 percent in 2030 if current trends are to be followed. That is unlikely to ever happen now due to the Trump administration’s policies, which are admittedly quite popular with many people, and the retirement of more Baby Boomers. Changing demographics are a big part of the problem, along with politics, but the fact that it’s being made more difficult to import the labor that is undoubtedly needed, especially in the medical field, is a huge factor, and a factor that could have been prevented since a shortage in workers has been predicted and seen coming for the past 20 years, meaning there could not be a worse time to crackdown on immigration.
The fact remains, unless changes are made, the workers’ compensation system will feel the strain and so will workers across the USA.