WC Base Rates For OH Private Employers Down For The Third Year

                               

Columbus, OH (CompNewsNetwork) - The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors today unanimously approved an overall premium rate decrease of 3.9 percent for private employers effective July 1, 2010. The vote places 2010 private employer rates 35 percent lower than policy year 2007.

“Today's decision represents another milestone in setting fair, equitable and competitive workers' compensation rates for Ohio,” said BWC Administrator Marsha Ryan. “With this latest reduction, private employer base rates are at their lowest level in the last two decades. The lower rates being paid by the majority of Ohio's private employers are providing savings they can now invest in their operations, supporting future job growth and economic development in Ohio.”

BWC actuarial staff recommended the decrease in private employer rates, consistent with the recommendation of actuarial consultant, Deloitte Consulting LLP. The change meets a requirement that BWC establish rates at the lowest level possible in order to maintain a solvent State Insurance Fund. The average rate change will impact employers based on their manual classification. Some manual classifications will realize a rate reduction higher or lower than 3.9 percent.

The board also approved a 4.3 percent rate decrease for Ohio state agencies, universities and university hospitals. State agencies, which pay bi-weekly premiums, will begin paying the new rate effective July 1, 2010. State universities and university hospitals pay quarterly premiums and will begin paying at the lower rate in October 2010. The average rates vary among public employer state agencies and are based on the anticipated payments for the upcoming year. Agency rates are individually calculated. Some agencies could experience an increase and others a decrease based on their claim activity.

In other business, the board adopted a rule change that, along with another rule modification approved last month, is intended to increase the speed with which injured workers receive treatment and compensation. In March, the board extended the time for a claim to be considered active from 13 to 24 months. This extension will allow injured workers to receive prompt treatment, and providers to immediately reinitiate appropriate treatment without unnecessary authorization requests. The rule adopted today modifies procedures for compensating an injured worker for amputation or loss of the use of a body part. The change will allow injured workers to receive the full amount of their award in one payment instead of in installments.

The regular board meeting was followed by an open discussion with representatives of the Managed Care Organization (MCO) League of Ohio. The discussion was the continuation of February's public forum on the subject of managed care in workers' compensation.

“The care of Ohio's injured workers is paramount in the mission of BWC and the Board of Directors,” said Board Chairman Bill Lhota. “We value our partnership with the MCO network, which takes great care in their work to link injured workers to the treatment they need to recover and return to work. Our forums with the MCO League have been enlightening and a productive collaboration in reaching our common goal of exceptional service to Ohio's employers and injured workers.”

MCOs are selected by Ohio employers to manage the medical treatment for their injured workers. Employers have a biennial opportunity to select an MCO to perform this function, and Monday begins the 2010 MCO open enrollment period. MCO open enrollment runs through May 28 and allows employers to choose an MCO to manage workers' comp claims for the next two years. To assist Ohio employers in choosing their MCO during this open enrollment period, BWC produces the MCO Selection Guide and the MCO Report Card.

The next meeting of the BWC Board of Directors will be Friday, May 28, 2010 at 8 a.m. in Room 3, Level 2 of the William Green Building, located at 30 W. Spring St., Columbus. 

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