Illinois vs. Indiana – Workers’ Compensation
Illinois is often compared to our neighbor Indiana when it comes to workers’ compensation costs for businesses. Unfortunately, it is not a fair or accurate comparison. Wages are the main driving factor when it comes to workers’ compensation costs. Workers compensation benefits (non-medical) are based on a worker’s average weekly wage and the weekly wage in Illinois is higher than in Indiana. Consider these facts:
- Indiana, on average, pays its workers 27 percent less than Illinois. Because workers’ compensation replaces lost wages, lower wages in Indiana create lower workers’ compensation costs.1
- Illinois ranks 8th in the country for average weekly wages, while Indiana ranks 35th.2
Some Indiana businesses may have lower workers’ compensation costs for employers, but workers injured on the job have meager options for their health care under Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws.
- Indiana severely restricts the right of an injured worker to choose their own medical treatment or their own doctor. Injured workers have no choice in Indiana and have to see the “Company” doctor.3 In Illinois, injured workers are allowed the freedom to choose their own doctor.
- All workers in Indiana receive the same workers compensation recovery, with no consideration to the workers injury – regardless of the injured workers circumstances. For example, a concert pianist and an executive each sustain an amputation of their index finger. In Indiana, both the concert pianist and the executive are required to accept the same compensation. In Illinois, the obvious distinction between a concert pianist without a finger and an executive without a finger is taken into account. In Illinois, each injured worker receives individual justice.
- Indiana implemented several features aimed at lowering workers’ compensation costs; however these measures come at the expense of the injured workers while increasing insurance company’s profits. One such feature is an early return to work program (ERTW) which often forces injured workers back to work sooner and leads to re-injury or new injury.4
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2014 first quarter report
3 Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana. http://www.in.gov/wcb/
4 IRMI, Risk & Insurance, Workers Compensation Return-to-Work Programs: Cost Savers? August 2009. http://www.irmi.com/expert/articles/2009/armc08-insurance-claims-management.aspx
PDF Fact Sheet: Illinois vs. Indiana – Workers’ Compensation