On Monday, March 13th, the Governor, John Kasich, and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (“BWC”) administrator, Sarah Morrison, announced plans to provide a $1.1 billion rebate in premiums to Ohio public and private employers. The refund includes an estimated $967 million to private employers and $133 million to public employers. The refund will be provided to more than 200,000 employers in Ohio. Additionally, the BWC is considering significant additional investments in workplace wellness and safety. The proposal will be reviewed at the BWC board meeting on April 28, 2017. If approved, most rebates would equal 66% of an employer’s premium for the policy year ending June 30, 2016 (calendar year 2015 for public employers). The BWC expects to begin sending checks in early July 2017, assuming that the proposal is ultimately approved.
The proposed rebate would affect both private and public employers that pay into the Ohio State Insurance Fund. Specific details of eligibility will be released in the near future and posted on the Ohio BWC website. Employers with outstanding BWC balances will have their rebate first applied to that balance and then any remaining sums will be returned to the employer. Employers that report through a professional employer organization should receive their rebate through their PEO, which is required to pass a portion of the rebate on to their members.
Despite a nearly 30% reduction in rates since 2011, the BWC continues to grow its surplus fund. As of January 31, 2017, the surplus fund has a $9.6 billion balance. The BWC attributes the large surplus to prudent fiscal management and a decline in claims.
Since the beginning of 2011, the BWC has saved Ohio businesses $4.8 billion through rebates, credits, and rate reductions. This figure includes providing rebates of $1 billion dollars in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Additionally, the BWC has provided $1.2 billion in credits through the transition to a modern billing system. The BWC has reduced rates for private employers an average of 28.2%. In actual dollars, the BWC has collected $1.7 billion less from employers than it would have had the 2010 rates remained the same. Additionally, the BWC has reduced rates for public employers at an average rate of 29.6% or, $334 million less than had the 2010 rates remained the same.
NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.