The number of workers’ compensation claims reported to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) increased 20% during the first 27 months of the COVID-19 pandemic (January 2020 through March 31, 2022) compared to the prior 27 months. As of May 1, 2022, insurance carriers reported more than 83,000 COVID-19 claims and 448 fatalities to DWC, with slightly more than half of these claims (51%) and the fatalities (55%) involving first responders and correctional officers. The factsheet, “COVID-19 in the Texas Workers’ Compensation System, shows that 66% of all claims between January 2020 through March 31, 2022, involved injured employees who tested positive or were diagnosed with COVID-19. Insurance carriers accepted 58% of COVID-19 positive test claims. 41% of COVID-19 positive test claims were denied by carriers. Of the 21,000 denials of COVID-19 claims with positive tests or diagnoses, there were only 184 disputes filed with DWC as of May 1, 2022. “The increase in COVID-19 occupational disease claims reported during the pandemic has temporarily interrupted a 20-year trend in Texas of fewer workers’ compensation claims reported each year,” the report said. The greatest number of COVID-19 claims were reported in January 2022 (12,305), followed by July 2020 (8,922), December 2020 (5,984), and August 2021 (5,336). 51% of COVID-19 claims were in the public administration sector, which includes first responders and correctional officers/prison workers. Health care and social assistance accounted for 18% of claims. Among fatal claims, 80% involved men and 67% involved workers who were 50 years or older. For claims reported to insurance carriers as of March 31, 2022, carriers paid a total of $40.6 million in medical costs on COVID-19 claims. 76% of costs have been paid by political subdivisions, followed by commercial insurance carriers (20%), and the State of Texas (4%). “These costs are likely to increase over time as claims mature,” the report said.
Header Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash