Friday, September 25, 2020

COVID-19 Implications on Budget and Staffing

Beneath the mountains of COVID information available detailing hospitalization, deaths, and case counts, Innovu has been mining data to uncover the true impact on American businesses. Most notably over the last few months, it has become clear that there are a number of factors at play that are having, and will continue to have, a significant impact on an employer’s bottom line. Now is the time to pay attention to budget and staffing as organizations move into the fourth quarter and plan for 2021. 

The Impact on Workers Compensation

Due to regional lockdowns and social distancing mandates, nearly half of the workforce in the United States has been telecommuting or working from home at some point during the pandemic. This physical absence from offices has resulted in a marked decrease in workers’ compensation claims. Despite the obvious exceptions for front line workers, this trend is present even in organizations that require in-person work due to limited staffing hours and a lower in-person headcount. While it varies from state to state, workers compensation guidelines generally do not cover any event that cannot directly be related to the workplace, specifically injury or illness related to community spread of illnesses like the common cold or the flu. Some states are working to extend workers comp benefits to front line workers and healthcare personnel who may be affected by COVID-19. We encourage employers to familiarize themselves with current legislative actions that could affect them.

The trend of low volume elective procedures and physical medicine services suggests that employees with active workers compensation claims may be absent for an extended period of time until completely rehabilitated. Employers should anticipate a significant delay in some employee’s ability to return to work and should staff and plan accordingly.


Impacts to 2021 Budgets

 As businesses look ahead and budget for 2021, it is vital to understand that historical utilization will be significantly impacted. Due to COVID-19 treatment costs and the unusually large volume of deferred care, there could be a significant impact on a 2021 budget. A marked spike in elective procedures over the next 18 months should be anticipated and planned for. Another prospective budgeting issue to be considered is the possible second wave of COVID-19. Given the unexpected arrival of the virus and the enormous impact on the American economy, all organizations should plan for the possibility of a resurgence and anticipate that impact on their bottom line and staffing needs. 

Live maps available on breakdown the COVID-19 spread across the country. For a more specific breakdown of your state or county, email

Access additional critical insights on the impact of COVID-19 for employers and advisors by visit

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