A Firm Foundation: How Insurance Supports the Economy

Workers compensation

Workers compensation insurance provides for the cost of medical care and rehabilitation for injured workers. It also provides for lost wages and death benefits for the dependents of persons killed in work-related accidents. Workers compensation systems vary from state to state. There are two components to workers compensation claims costs: cash payments for lost time (which are usually linked to a state’s average weekly wage), known as indemnity costs, and payments for medical care.

Workers Compensation Benefits, Coverage And Costs, 2018


  2018 Percent change,
Covered workers (000) 142,618 7.2%
Covered wages ($ billions)  $8,177 19.6
Workers compensation benefits paid ($ billions)  62.9 -1.2
     Medical benefits  31.3 -3.4
     Cash benefits  31.6 1.1
Employer costs for workers compensation ($ billions)  98.6 5.0

Source: Workers Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, October 2020, National Academy of Social Insurance.

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