The Bureau of Worker’s Compensation has been hard at work finding ways to save Ohio’s businesses money. Since taking over BWC in 2011, administrator Steve Buehrer has done an excellent job of streamlining the BWC and reducing costs to Ohio businesses. Worker’s compensation is one of the largest expenses Ohio’s businesses face but since 2011 premiums have fallen 21.4 percent to the lowest average rate in 35 years. These efforts have even led Forbes to name Ohio the 15th best state for businesses.
This year, businesses will see a number of new changes that will further streamline the worker’s compensation process and save even more money. For instance, last month employers transitioned to prospective billing which provides many benefits like a base-rate reduction of 2 percent for private employers, allowing more flexible payment options, more opportunities for BWC to provide quotes online and over the phone, and increased ability to detect non-compliance and fraud.
Another major change taking place this year with BWC is the partnership with United States Insurance Services and Zurich to help employers who do business in multiple states purchase worker’s compensation coverage for employees working outside of Ohio. Last year, the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill allowing BWC the authority to contract with an insurer to provide this coverage. Previously, BWC coverage only applied to workers temporarily working out of state and any injury claims filed outside of Ohio were met with complications that subjected Ohio businesses to fines and penalties from other states.
This new partnership will allow businesses to contract with a licensed insurance provider through BWC to ensure proper worker’s compensation coverage for their employees working out of state. With this optional coverage, the insurance vendor will issue policies and cover out-of-state claims. With these new rules, businesses who work across state lines will be able to save money by preventing fees and penalties for lack of coverage in other states.
These changes are especially important in the 84th House District. Western Ohio is home to many businesses that already do business in Indian, or those hoping to one day expand. Having this new coverage option will simplify the process so businesses can work across state lines without worrying about maintaining multiple worker’s compensation policies or the risks of penalty for insufficient coverage.
For public employers this program went into effect in January, making the worker’s compensation program more effective for the taxpayer and reducing problematic situations for local governments. For private sector businesses this optional coverage will be available very soon.
For those interested in purchasing this additional coverage, the majority of the business must be in Ohio. Business owners can apply by contacting the BWC, who will determine eligibility and premiums.
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