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Is Workers' Compensation Covering Uninsured Medical Costs? Evidence fromthe `Monday Effect'

  • David Card
  • Brian P. McCall

Steady increases in the costs of medical care, coupled with a rise in the fraction of workers who lack medical care insurance, have led to a growing concern that the Workers' Compensation system is paying for off-the-job injuries. Many analysts have interpreted the high rate of Monday injuries -- especially for hard-to-monitor injuries like back sprains -- as evidence of this phenomenon. In this paper, we propose a test of the hypothesis that higher Monday injury rates are due to fraudulent claims. Specifically, we compare the daily injury patterns for workers who are more and less likely to have medical insurance coverage, and the corresponding differences in the fraction of injury claims that are disputed by employers. Contrary to expectations, we find that workers without medical coverage are no more likely to report a Monday injury than other workers. Similarly, employers are no more likely to challenge a Monday injury claim -- even for workers who lack medical insurance.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5058.

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Date of creation: Mar 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Industrial and Labor Relations Review, July 1996, vol.49,no.4,
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5058
Note: LS
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  1. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1990. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment: An Application of Instrumental Variables with Moments from Two Samples," Working Papers 654, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. David Card & Brian P. McCall, 1995. "Is Workers' Compensation Covering Uninsured Medical Costs? Evidence fromthe `Monday Effect'," NBER Working Papers 5058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James R. Chelius, 1982. "The influence of workers' compensation on safety incentives," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(2), pages 235-242, January.
  4. Bound, John, 1989. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 482-503, June.
  5. Douglas Wolf & David Greenberg, 1986. "The Dynamics of Welfare Fraud: An Econometric Duration Model in Discrete Time," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 437-455.
  6. Alan B. Krueger, 1989. "Incentive Effects of Workers' Compensation Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Burgess, Paul L, 1992. "Compliance with Unemployment-Insurance Job-Search Regulations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 371-96, October.
  8. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1985. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 370-79, October.
  9. Barmby, Tim & Orme, Chris D & Treble, John, 1990. "Worker Absenteeism: An Analysis Using Microdata," CEPR Discussion Papers 434, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 117-34, February.
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