The BWC (Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation) is announcing big changes to the way employers and insurance companies handle workers comp. The changes will not officially go into effect until 2015, but officials are hoping to avoid confusion by getting the word out early.
For the better part of half a century, Ohio workers comp has operated by providing coverage first and accepted payment afterward. Starting next year, the state will transfer to a prospective billing system, which means employers will pay their premiums up front, before they receive coverage.
In theory, employers will see benefits from the change. They will have more flexible payment options, up to 12 installments instead of a semiannual payment structure. In addition, the new payment system will make it easier for the BWC to give employers quotes over the phone. The workers comp agency is confident that private employers will see a two percent savings in workers comp costs, while public employers could save as much as four percent.
The new system also helps the BWC control costs and operate more efficiently, because they are able to detect non-compliance and fraud sooner. The agency can also invest the money sooner, and they can afford to wait longer for returns.
Despite the potential benefits of the new payment system, BWC officials hesitated to switch billing earlier, because employers would have been billed extra during the transition.
"There has been this concern of charging employers for one period, and then immediately charging them in advance of the next period when you make that switch," a spokesman for the BWC said.
Now, the BWC is offering a one-time credit on premiums to help employers through the transition. The credit essentially means that employers will not have to pay eight months’ worth of premiums.
Officials caution that the new system means new deadlines, especially for programs like group rating. Group rating allows companies to receive a sort of “bulk discount” on their workers comp premiums by being placed in groups with companies of a similar size and claims history.
The program enrolls on a yearly basis, and the next period does not go into effect until July 2015. To participate, however, employers must complete and submit the paperwork by November of this year, a full three months earlier than the previous deadline.
The BWC is partnering with the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) to help inform business owners about the change and help them make the transition.
I Need a Workers Comp Attorney in Columbus, OH
Changes in the workers comp system could mean changes in your coverage. Make sure to stay informed about your rights and options after big policy changes like this one. Here at Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC, workers’ rights are our top priority. If you have questions about your workers comp claim, call us today for a free consultation. The right information can make all the difference.
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—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys