Thursday, January 5, 2012

NCCI Study Affirms I'm NOT Irrelevant!

DISCLAIMER - I'm 52 years old.

There, now you know that I'm part of the "aging work force".

According to NCCI's latest research, this doesn't mean a whole lot to workers' compensation other than the fact that if I get hurt I will probably cost more in indemnity than if I were 28 simply because theoretically I make more money (that's actually not true - I made more in wages at age 28 practicing law than at age 52 running a publishing company!) and will take longer to assimilate back into the work place.

NCCI found that any disparity in frequency of injury since the 1990s between age groups has largely disappeared as of 2009, that frequency for all age groups has been falling, and continues to fall. The data is based on a study of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

The study also concludes that occupational mix is not a factor - "Occupational mix may have changed, but all occupations are much safer."

However, severity in both medical and indemnity does tend to escalate with age: "the data shows that both indemnity and medical severity have exhibited steady increases over time with severity for older claimants costing more." So while us older folks might not have any more injuries than the young ones, when we do get hurt or ill at work we cost more because for the most part (except for me as noted above) we make more money and, because I'm likely more frail and recover less easily than the good old days, it costs more to patch me up.

But as we all likely are quite aware, regardless of age, it still costs more for medical treatment now than it did 13 years ago, by an outsized relative factor unaccountable solely by the overall rate of inflation.

What we injure or claim as illness is different between age groups. Us old farts mess up shoulders and knees. Youngsters complain about backs and ankles.

We old folks get more treatments and when our social network is paying the bills we like to rest a little longer.

Bottom line: "from a workers compensation perspective, the higher costs [associated with more indemnity and treatment] are offset at least to some extent by the higher premium due to higher wages of older workers."

I'm so happy about this study! It affirms that I'm not irrelevant to the American economy! I'm not the burden that was predicted just 10 years ago.

Geriatrics be damned - it's time for me to get ready to go to work. You can retrieve your copy of NCCI's study at compensation, work comp, injured worker 

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