Washington State’s workers’ comp costs soar

Mar 21, 2024
Written by WR Communications

Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, Washington State faces a stark reality: it holds the dubious honor of having the highest workers’ compensation benefit costs nationwide.

According to the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), in 2021, the average cost per covered worker reached $849.67, outpacing all other states. Despite robust wage growth, benefit costs surged by 13.0% from 2017 to 2021, a trend observed in only 12 states. While NASI’s delayed report leaves critical questions unanswered regarding Washington’s supplemental pension fund, recent actions by the Department of Labor & Industries reflect concerns. In 2024, average workers’ compensation premium rates rose by 4.9%, albeit below the break-even rate, necessitating the use of contingency reserve funds.

These challenges underscore the imperative for strategic reforms to ensure fair and sustainable support for Washington’s workforce. From legislative chambers to factory floors, the story of soaring workers’ compensation costs serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance between economic prosperity and the well-being of those who propel it forward.

Read the report: Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Costs, and Coverage


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