The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant stay-at-home orders are significantly impacting California’s economic, health care and workers’ compensation systems. Some COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims have already been filed. However,
at this time, it is unclear what proportion of the illnesses and deaths directly resulting from the virus will ultimately be determined to be work-related. Some states have enacted presumptions of COVID-19 claims being work-related for certain front line workers and similar proposals are under discussion in California.
On April 8, 2020, Assemblyman Tom Daly, Chair of the Assembly Insurance Committee, requested the WCIRB to provide an estimate of the potential cost impact of presumptions provided to front line workers in California. Specifically, the WCIRB was requested to provide the cost impact of a conclusive presumption for health care workers, firefighters, EMS and rescue employees, front line law enforcement officers and other essential critical infrastructure (ECI) employees. In response and to provide insight on the potential cost impact of COVID-19 claims on the California workers’ compensation system, the WCIRB has completed an initial analysis of these costs.
For purposes of this analysis, the WCIRB assumed that the ECI workers were those identified as “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” in Governor Newsom’s March 19, 2020 Executive Order N-33-20. The WCIRB segregated these workers into ECI Group 1, which includes health care workers, firefighters, EMS and rescue employees, and front line law enforcement officers and ECI Group 2, which includes all other workers on the Governor’s ECI list. In evaluating the impact of a conclusive presumption, we assumed all symptomatic ECI workers with COVID-19 would file a compensable workers’ compensation claim… Read More