Recent Changes at the Ohio BWC

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors approved an overall premium rate decrease of 3.9 percent for private employers effective July 1, 2010. The vote places 2010 private employer rates 35 percent lower than policy year 2007.

BWC actuarial staff recommended the decrease in private employer rates, consistent with the recommendation of actuarial consultant, Deloitte Consulting LLP. The change meets a requirement that BWC establish rates at the lowest level possible in order to maintain a solvent State Insurance Fund.
The average rate change will impact employers based on their manual classification. Some manual classifications will realize a rate reduction higher or lower than 3.9 percent.

The board also approved a 4.3 percent rate decrease for Ohio state agencies, universities and university hospitals. State agencies, which pay bi-weekly premiums, will begin paying the new rate effective July 1, 2010. State universities and university hospitals pay quarterly premiums and will begin paying at the lower rate in October 2010.

The average rates vary among public employer state agencies and are based on the anticipated payments for the upcoming year. Agency rates are individually calculated. Some agencies could experience an increase and others a decrease based on their claim activity.

Additionally, the board adopted a rule change that, along with another rule modification approved last month, is intended to increase the speed with which injured workers receive treatment and compensation.

In March, the board extended the time for a claim to be considered active from 13 to 24 months. This extension will allow injured workers to receive prompt treatment, and providers to immediately reinitiate appropriate treatment without unnecessary authorization requests.

The rule adopted modifies procedures for compensating an injured worker for amputation or loss of the use of a body part. The change will allow injured workers to receive the full amount of their award in one payment instead of in installments.

Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation