Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ohio Board Approves Plan to Reform WC Rates

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors recently unanimously approved the first phase of a long-term plan that is expected to improve pricing accuracy and equity when determining workers’ compensation premiums for all Ohio employers. The improvements are expected to reduce Ohio’s workers’ comp base rates by as much as 25 percent once implemented.

“The long-term plan proposes to transition to a nationally tested split experience rating method for calculating premium rates that will distinguish random accidents from consistently unsafe workplaces,” said BWC Administrator Marsha Ryan. “Reforming BWC’s rate making process will provide greater stability for employers, while improving BWC’s cost competitiveness with other states.”

In addition to transitioning to a new rate making process, similar to one used in 38 other states, the long-term plan also includes components such as:

  • Implementing a transitional reduction in the maximum discount from 85 percent to 77 percent beginning July 1, 2009;
  • Capping premium increases due to these changes at 20 percent for employers affected by the transitional discount reductions;
  • Capping premium increases due to an employer’s claim history at 100 percent for all employers, particularly those removed from a group; and the
  • Development of new, performance-based options such as deductibles that will encourage employers to manage costs and improve workplace safety efforts.

The long-term plan proposes a gradual transition to the new experience rating method over three years. The first phase of the plan was approved with further study on the group rating rules and governance to be complete by 2009. Other aspects of the long-term plan, such as an additional discount reduction in 2010 and the rating transition in 2011 will be addressed after further testing and impact analysis are complete.

In addition to the recommendation by BWC’s staff, Deloitte Consulting Inc. offered a detailed presentation supporting improvements to BWC’s discount programs, including the group rating program. Deloitte Consulting has been studying BWC’s discount programs since early 2008.

The year-long study by Deloitte Consulting was initiated in House Bill 100 to measure the performance of Ohio’s workers’ comp system and compare Ohio’s workers’ comp system to other state and private compensation systems. The study is expected to continue until December 2008.

For details on the BWC’s plan to restore operational excellence, visit For information about the agency’s plan to improve experience rating for workers’ comp and strengthening the group-rating program, click here.

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