Research/studies Workers' compensation

More workers using private insurance for work-related injuries: study

Cincinnati – An increasing number of work-related emergency department visits are not being paid for by workers’ compensation, which could result in inaccurate estimates of occupational injuries and illnesses, according to a new study from NIOSH.

Researchers analyzed 3,881 work-related ED visits from 2003 to 2006 and found that, of those, 40 percent were paid for by private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare or the worker. The percentage of cases paid for by means other than workers’ comp increased every year, the study abstract states.

Researchers also determined that work-related cases were more likely to not be paid for by workers’ comp when the patient was black, was from the South, went to a for-profit hospital or was treated for an occupational illness.

Researchers concluded that data and research based on ED visits “systematically underestimate” the amount of work-related injuries and illnesses.

The study was published online May 13 in the journal Health Services Research.