AMA Reclassification of ‘Obesity’ Could
Prove Costly for Workers’ Comp Insurers
By Arthur D. Postal, PropertyCasualty360.com
Workers’ compensation costs for employers could rise steeply as a result of a decision by the American Medical Association (AMA) to classify
obesity as a treatable disease,a new report
contends. The report by the California
Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI),
prompted by AMA’s mid-June decision to
approve a resolution reclassifying obesity as
“a disease state,” says the AMA effectively
declared that one-third of all Americans
suffer from a medical condition that requires treatment.
In workers’ comp, obesity has historically been classified as co-morbidity—
a condition that occurs at the same time,
but usually independent of, an injury
To quantify the potential impact, the
CWCI research determined that paid
losses on claims with the obesity co-mor-
bidity averaged $116,437, or 81.3 per-
cent more than those without; and that
these claims averaged nearly 35 weeks
of lost time, or 80 percent more than the
19-week average for claims without the
obesity co-morbidity. That was based on
a study of 1.2 million workers compensa-
tion claims from accident years 2005 to
2010 in California.
In the past, a medical provider might
include an obesity co-morbidity code on
the bill he/she felt the condition needed
Compliance is at the forefront of the claims community’s mind. A chronic state of regulatory flux can leave adjusters especially confused. What can claims professionals do to alleviate some of the stress
while achieving their educational goals?
Here, we talk to Jeff Cook, director of sales
and marketing at Xeneros, to explore potential solutions.
What challenges do claims
professionals face to stay cur-
rent with certifications and
The short answer is that they are ex-
tremely busy with their profession day to
day. In order to be effective, claims profes-
sionals must stay current on an array of top-
ics, educational requirements, regulations
and handling protocols. The ever-evolving
insurance landscape, industry certifica-
tions, special designations, and software are
simply a few of the challenges and responsi-
bilities they contend with on a regular basis.
The majority of state licenses are on a
two year cycle; mix into that state regula-
tions for maintaining (or obtaining) a li-
cense change cycle to cycle and it would be
a daunting proposition for anyone.
What effect do state-specific
requirements have on adjusters
and other claims professionals?
I would have to say that not only is it
intimidating and cumbersome, but it is
also confusing. One state requires fingerprints, and another one doesn’t.Which
states require bonds? Which states reciprocate with which? There is little consis-
Speaking Of: Tech-Enabled Compliance Solutions
One of the most
in [keeping up
is to act early.