At the 2020 WCRI Annual Research & Issues Conference, Dr Bogdan Savych with WCRI discussed their study reviewing how injuries, claims and outcomes vary by age.
The US population is aging. In 2000, around 13% of the population was over age 65. It is projected that by 2030 over 20% of the population will be over age 65. People are also working longer. Since 2000, the percentage of people over age 65 still working has increased by over almost a third and the percentage over age 75 still working is projected to more than double between 2000 and 2028. This aging workforce is impacting workers’ compensation injuries and claim outcomes.
While injury rates for workers 22-44 and 65 and older are very similar, the types of injuries are different. Older workers are twice as likely to suffer injuries from falls, but overexertion injuries tend to be lower with the older workers. Thus, older workers suffer less strains, but more fractures.
Medical payments on claims with more than 7 days of lost time tend to increase steadily based on the age of the worker. Indemnity payments follow a similar pattern, with the exception that they tend to decline for workers over age 65.
Average duration of lost time claims remains fairly flat once workers are age 45 or older. The likelihood of a claim receiving PPD benefits is also relatively flat after age 45.
The percentage of workers with multiple comorbidities increases with age. Over 70% of claims for workers over age 65 have at least one comorbidity, and around 40% have two or more comorbidities. A very small fraction of workers under age 40 have two or more comorbidities.
You can learn more about this study on the WCRI web site HERE