Workers’ comp rate decrease proposed for Ohio local governments


News Journal



COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will reduce premium rates for public employers an average of 10% next year under a proposal discussed this week by BWC’s Board of Directors and backed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

If approved by the board, the reduction would save Ohio’s 3,700 school districts, cities and other local government employers $17.8 million over their 2019 premiums, said Chris Carlson, BWC Chief Actuarial Officer.

“This proposal would free up funds for these employers to invest in their communities, create jobs and hire staff,” Carlson told the board’s Actuarial Committee. “It also supports BWC’s goal of maintaining stable, predictable rates in the future.”

DeWine lauded the proposal as a win for public employers and the state overall.

“These savings will help local governments invest in their communities at a time when resources are stretched thin by the numerous natural disasters we’ve experienced this year and by our continuing battle with the substance-use crisis,” he said. “I applaud BWC for considering yet another action this year to help our state prosper.”

The proposal follows a 20% rate reduction for private employers that went into effect July 1. It also follows the board’s approval in June to send $1.5 billion in agency revenue to employers in September because of strong investment returns, falling claims and other savings.

The reduction — the agency’s 11th for public employers since 2009 and equal to the third largest since 1986 — would be effective Jan. 1, 2020, pending the board’s approval at its Aug. 23 meeting. It follows a 12% rate reduction for public employers that went into effect Jan. 1 this year.

Carlson said several factors make the 2020 reduction possible, including declining claims and relatively low medical inflation costs. He noted the reduction represents a statewide average. The actual premium change for an individual public entity will differ based on several factors, including employer type or classification, recent claims history, and their participation in BWC rate discount programs.

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