Occupational disease and workers' compensation: Coverage, costs, and consequences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most of the costs of occupational disease are not covered by workers' compensation. First, the authors estimated the deaths and costs for all occupational disease in 1999, using epidemiological studies. Among the greatest contributors were job-related cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and circulatory disease. Second, the authors estimated the number of workers' compensation cases, costs, and deaths for 1999, using data from up to 16 states representing all regions of the country. Unlike the epidemiological studies that emphasized fatal diseases, the workers' compensation estimates emphasized nonfatal diseases and conditions like tendonitis and hernia. Comparisons of the epidemiological and workers' compensation estimates suggest that in 1999, workers' compensation missed roughly 46,000 to 93,000 deaths and $8 billion to $23 billion in medical costs. These deaths and costs represented substantial cost shifting from workers' compensation systems to individual workers, their families, private medical insurance, and taxpayers (through Medicare and Medicaid). Designing policies to reduce the cost shifting and its associated inefficiency will be challenging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-721
Number of pages33
JournalMilbank Quarterly
Volume82
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

Fingerprint

occupational disease
Workers' Compensation
Occupational Diseases
coverage
worker
Costs and Cost Analysis
costs
Cost Allocation
death
Disease
Epidemiologic Studies
circulatory disease
Tendinopathy
Cost of Illness
Medicaid
Hernia
Medicare
Insurance
Chronic Disease
insurance

Keywords

  • Economics
  • Employment
  • OSHA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Health Policy

Cite this

Occupational disease and workers' compensation : Coverage, costs, and consequences. / Leigh, J Paul; Robbins, John A.

In: Milbank Quarterly, Vol. 82, No. 4, 2004, p. 689-721.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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