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Ohio to Invest in Workers’ Compensation Upgrades

Apr 19Jeff Matthews

The Ohio legislature choose to split Governor Kasich’s mid-biennium review spending proposal into 14 pieces of legislation which allowed HB 493 to proceed swiftly.  The Ohio Society of CPAs prepared the article below outlining the improvements in the systems and processes of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) in HB 493.

“Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is transitioning to a modernized billing system and a new, more flexible payment schedule. The transition should save private employers 2% and public employers 4%.

The most significant impact on Ohio employers is the payment schedule. Employers will receive their invoice in June and begin paying premiums before July 1. While that is earlier than before, all employers will be able to make at least quarterly payments, and some will be able to pay in up to as many as 12 installments.

“House Bill 493 gives BWC the tools needed to modernize our billing system, another piece of the Billion Back plan, which last year returned $1 billion to Ohio employers,” said BWC Administrator and CEO Steve Buehrer.

“This move to a prospective billing system will result in an additional $1 billion back to Ohio employers, in the form of a credit that will be issued to employers to cover transition costs,” he said.

The change aligns BWC with standard industry practice and enables the agency to collect premiums before extending coverage. The bureau said it hopes the changes will provide more flexibility for employers and reduce overall costs.

Should the Ohio Senate take quick action, this transition is effective July 1, 2015, for private employers, and Jan. 1, 2016, for public employers.

For employers struggling with workers’ compensation systems in other states, HB 493 proposes an option allowing companies to obtain full or limited coverage for work done out-of-state. This lower cost option will be a benefit for employers unable to afford a new policy in the state in which they’re working.

Other important changes for employers:

  • Employers looking to participate in programs such as group rating, group-retrospective rating or other rating plans will have the opportunity to make those selections sooner.
  • An average employer will enjoy a one-time premium credit, as the BWC will cover the August payroll report (covering the January to June 2015 premium) as well as the prospective premium for the first two   months (July and August).
  • The BWC asks that businesses report or “true-up” their actual payroll for the prior policy year. This begins in August 2016.

The benefits of the new model include:

  • Overall base rate reduction of 2% for private employers and 4% for public employers.
  • Opportunities for more flexible payment options (up to 12 installments).
  • Better opportunities for BWC to provide quotes online or via the phone.
  • Fewer costs from employers who either don’t pay premiums in a timely fashion or have workers injured without coverage being mutualized among employers in good standing.
  • Increased ability for BWC to detect employer non-compliance and fraud.”[1]

 


[1] Staff written article from the Ohio Society of CPAs, dated 4/16/2014, accessed 4/19/2014, can be accessed at http://www.ohioscpa.com/publications/news/2014/04/16/worker-s-comp-change-passes-ohio-house?utm_source=CPA_Takeaways&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Worker%E2%80%99s%20comp%20change%20passes%20Ohio%20House&utm_campaign=enews&MPPID=16746

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