As we approach the end of the calendar year it’s a good time to review a few key events happening for business owners in Ohio in regards to the workers’ compensation system.
“The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has been moving forward on several initiatives over the past few months that include giving another billion dollars back to employers, settling a lawsuit that has implications for some employers in the state and continuing the implementation of a prospective billing system,” says Mark MaGinn, vice president at CompManagement.
Smart Business spoke with MaGinn about what every employer in Ohio with workers’ compensation coverage issued by the BWC should be aware of right now.
What is the benefit of the Another Billion Back initiative?
Another Billion Back comes on the heels of the Billion Back issued in the spring of 2013. It includes a $1 billion rebate to 3,800 public employers and approximately 184,000 private sector employers, as well as several new programs targeting workplace safety.
The rebate, like the one issued in 2013, is possible because of sound fiscal management that led to strong investment returns. BWC began to issue checks last month to employers that have current mailing addresses on file with the agency. The rebates equaled 60 percent of premiums employers paid for the July 1, 2012, private employer policy year and the Jan. 1, 2012, policy year for public employers.
In conjunction with the rebate, BWC increased its commitment to safety. Up to $35 million has been earmarked over the next two years for several initiatives that include the areas of overexertion, slips, trips and falls, musculoskeletal disorders, health and wellness, firefighter safety training, expansion of the safety intervention grant program for employers to purchase equipment to reduce or eliminate injuries, and the development of safety curricula and funding for skilled labor training programs such as carpentry, welding and plumbing.
What should an employer know about the San Allen case?
BWC has settled the San Allen case, a class action lawsuit filed in 2007 against the State of Ohio over BWC pricing policies that were in place between 2001 and 2008. The settlement administrator mailed eligible employers a class notice with proof of claim form in August. All forms were to be completed in full and postmarked no later than Oct. 22, 2014.
According to the settlement agreement, a preliminary report of payments to be made is expected to be issued by Jan. 14, 2015. More information may be found via the settlement administrator’s website at www.ohiobwclawsuit.com.
When it comes to prospective billing, what are the four things that every employer should know?
With the implementation approaching for the July 1, 2015, policy year for private employers and Jan. 1, 2016, policy year for public employers, it is important to know:
Deadline dates have been moved up approximately 90 days for alternative rating/premium discount programs, such as group rating and group retro. The settlement application deadline and deadlines to pay premium have also changed. It’s important to make note on your calendar of all new deadline dates in order to prevent missed savings opportunities.
BWC will be providing $1.2 billion in premium transition credits for employers in order to prevent a double payment situation and ease into the new payment system.
Private employers will automatically be transitioned to a biannual payment schedule for the first year; public employers will be invoiced monthly. In subsequent years, employers may select their own installment option of monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, biannually or annually.
Since BWC will be providing coverage based on an estimated payroll, employers will be required to report their actual payroll for the prior year and pay any shortage in premium or they will receive a refund if there is an overage. Failure to report in a timely fashion will result in removal from alternative rating/premium discount programs.
Insights Workers’ Compensation is brought to you by CompManagement, Inc.