Over the last five years the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has made changes to help it evolve from a problem, to a leader in economic development and job growth in Ohio. The growth is due to the presence of all the ingredients of a strong economy including: sound business decisions, a focus on safety and hard workers.
In recent years, the BWC has been responsible for many great things. First, sound business decisions and higher than expected return on investments, allowed BWC to provide $2 billion in rebates to both public and private Ohio employers. Second, BWC invested in Ohio’s workers and workplaces by tripling funding for safety grants and safety research. Lastly, BWC reduced rates to the lowest in 30 years for public employers and by 21.4 percent for private employers.
The BWC has made this drastic turn around, while lowering its premium rates, with help from changes to its billing system. Most recently, the Bureau has moved to prospective billing. Like most insurance companies, in order to provide Ohio employers with more flexible payment options. By making this move and collecting premiums in advance, employers are benefiting from flexible payment options, seeing a reduction in rates, and the BWC is providing a premium credit in order to avoid a double billing.
Private employers are in the process of this transition now while public employers will benefit from this switch when their policy year beings Jan. 1, 2016. These changes will also provide better customer service and a better ability to detect fraud and noncompliance, ultimately saving employers unnecessary costs.
The lowering of rates and flexibility in payments encourages Ohio businesses to grow; and that growth of businesses, both big and small, will put many Ohioans in our community back to work and may have a positive impact on our economy.
These sound business decisions are helping to turn Ohio’s economy around. Partnering these decisions with a focus on safe workplaces, and a reinvestment in roads and infrastructure all ensure more efficiency and dependability for people and businesses alike. Low energy costs and affordable tax policies have coupled with efforts at the BWC to grow business operations and jobs in Ohio.
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The writer represents the 84th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.