How Does Health Insurance Affect Workers' Compensation Filing?
RAND Corporation; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Robert T. Reville
RAND Corporation - Institute for Civil Justice
Seth A. Seabury
The RAND Corporation
RAND Institute for Civil Justice Working Paper No. WR-205-1-ICJ
Workers' compensation provides insurance against job-related injuries, but one-third to one-half of injured workers choose not to file. Previous analysts have presumed this to result in part from private health insurance, an alternative source of health care that may discourage insured workers from taking the time to file a workers' compensation claim. However, data from the NLSY paint a much different and more troubling picture: uninsured and more vulnerable workers are less likely to file claims than the insured. We study this relationship and find that it emerges as the result of employer characteristics. Workers at firms who offer health insurance to employees are more likely to file workers' compensation claims: the characteristics of the firm are more important than the insurance status of workers themselves; moreover, even repeat injury sufferers are more likely to file during episodes in which their employer offers health insurance. This suggests that the workplace environment and employer incentives may have a significant impact on the utilization of the workers' compensation system.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: Workers' Compensation, Health Insurance, Claims Filing
JEL Classification: J38working papers series
Date posted: April 21, 2005
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