The Ohio BWC Makes Adjustments to Better Business

Topping the list of what’s new at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is the “falling rates for Ohio employers,” says Melissa Vince, public relations manager for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

iStock_000049297666_FullBWC’s board of directors approved another rate reduction for private employers in March, so when that reduction goes into effect in July, private employers will be paying $463 million less annually than they were at the beginning of 2011, a 28 percent decrease, Vince says, adding public employers are also paying lower rates.

“A recent 9 percent reduction, combined with decreases implemented during the past five years, resulted in a total average decrease to local government rates of 26.5 percent,” she adds. “These reductions have a significant impact because every dollar we don’t have to collect is another dollar that Ohio’s companies can use to invest in growing their businesses.”

The BWC’s “long overdue” switch to prospective billing—where it now agrees with the industry standard by collecting premiums before extending coverage—will give employers more flexibility and better planning ability for paying premiums.

“Due to our strong financial position, the BWC was also able to provide a $1.2 billion premium credit to employers to ease the billing system transition” Vince says.

Other recent improvements include what Vince calls common-sense modifications to coverage requirements and options that were standing in the way of business growth.

“A much-needed law change proposed by the BWC removed the requirement that nonprofits have coverage for their volunteer corporate officers, freeing up money for these organizations to provide services that help local communities throughout the state,” she says.

Another new coverage option will simplify workers’ comp for businesses with employees who are injured in other states, making it easier for them to expand across the border and still make sure their employees are protected.

“We want to keep that momentum going with additional investments in safety, including the Occupational Safety and Health Research Program, which is funding research into occupational safety and health research,” Vince says.

Six Ohio universities are currently conducting research with $2 million already awarded by the BWC, which plans to award an additional $1 million.

“We are excited to support research that could shift thinking on current workplace safety practices in Ohio and across the country,” she says.

The BWC is also looking into ways to reduce delays in treatment when someone is injured on the job.

“We’ve begun pilot programs to better coordinate care for knee and spine injuries,” Vince said.

The growing problem of drug dependency and abuse hasn’t escaped the attention of the BWC either.

Vince says: “Our pharmacy management program is resulting in better care and has helped decrease opioid doses, helping ensure injured workers don’t fall prey to addiction or overdose.”