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SELECTED INDICATORS IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION:   A REPORT CARD FOR CALIFORNIANS

Trends in Paid Medical Benefits

The estimated system-wide paid medical costs for the past several years are displayed in the chart below.  The following trends may result from the impact of the recent workers’ compensation reforms.  The cost of the total medical benefit doubled from 1998 to 2003, then decreased by 21 percent from 2003 to 2005.  Pharmacy costs nearly quadrupled from 1998 through 2004, before declining slightly from 2004 to 2005.  Expenditures on medical cost-containment programs in 2005 were less than a third of what they were in 2002.  Hospital costs more than doubled from 1998 to 2003, then declined by 22 percent from 2003 to 2005. Medical-legal evaluation costs fluctuated from 1998 to 2002, then doubled between 2002 and 2005.  Payments to physicians doubled from 1998 to 2003, then dropped by 26 percent from 2003 to 2005.

The following chart depicts the proportion of the total cost of paid medical contributed by each component.  

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