Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ohio BWC Offering New Deductible Program

Ohio employers will soon have another option for controlling costs while protecting their workforce following the approval by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors to create a new deductible program.

The deductible program, the first-ever for BWC, will reportedly give employers better control of their workers’ compensation insurance spending and provide an incentive to promote workplace safety programs and services.

Under the deductible program, an employer agrees to pay the portion of a claim that falls below the deductible level. For taking on this degree of risk, the employer will receive a premium discount. The program will offer five deductible levels from $500 up to $10,000 per claim, and additional deductible levels and structures will be considered in future years. The deductible program will be available to employers beginning July 1, 2009.

The Board also approved rule changes that will give BWC more authority to ensure sponsoring associations comply with the statutes and rules governing the group rating program.

The changes include: requiring greater disclosure from group sponsors; mandating that all sponsors reapply for certification before becoming eligible to sponsor groups for group retrospective rating beginning July 1, 2009 and/or group rating beginning July 1, 2010; and instituting a re-certification process to ensure all group sponsors are evaluated by BWC on a regular basis.

In other business, the Board asked BWC staff to continue its efforts toward ensuring an actuarially sound rate system that will provide greater equity between the amount group-rated and non group-rated employers pay in workers’ comp premiums.

Staff was also asked to continue to solicit input from these employer groups and present a modified plan in the future that does not include elimination of programs including Drug Free Workplace and Safety Council discounts.

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