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May 27, 201403:26 PMThe Bottom Line

with contributors from Associated Bank

Why you should integrate risk management and workplace wellness

(page 2 of 2)

Impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Some of the most devastating workers’ compensation cases — in terms of cost impact from employers — involve workers who don’t have health insurance.

For example, the absence of insurance makes it difficult for an employee to afford prescriptions for chronic conditions. Therefore, these untreated medical conditions slow recovery from the work injury, which leads to higher workers’ compensation costs. Additionally, the cost of treating the underlying condition is often applied to the workers’ compensation in order to resolve the work injury and close the claim.

Under the ACA, individuals are required to have insurance, and a health insurance company can no longer refuse to insure someone with a pre-existing condition. When individuals have medical insurance and treatment for comorbidity diagnoses, recovery times are reduced, claims are closed sooner, and workers’ compensation costs are reduced.

Wellness and workers’ compensation — a clear connection

A study by U.S. Corporate Wellness says the “average results” of an employee wellness plan include a:

  • Drop in workers’ compensation and disability claims by as much as 30%
  • Decrease in short-term sick leave by as much as 32%
  • Savings of between $3 and $6 for every $1 invested 

There is little debate that unhealthy employees injured on the job can cause more expensive workers’ compensation claims. However, if employers have been somewhat reluctant to address this issue in the past, it is something they must consider moving forward.

Amy Richter is a senior wellness consultant at Associated Financial Group, LLC.

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