Starting in mid-October 2014, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (Ohio BWC) will mail rebate checks totaling $1 billion to Ohio private employers and public employer taxing districts that pay premiums into Ohio’s state insurance fund. Ohio Governor John Kasich and Ohio BWC Administrator Stephen Buehrer recently announced the workers’ compensation premium rebate, dubbed “Another Billion Back.” The plan is estimated to provide eligible employers a rebate of approximately 60 percent of their state fund premiums for applicable annual policy periods.
Approximately 184,000 private employers and 3,800 public employers will receive these rebates. Ohio state fund employers who are in good standing with the BWC as of the September 26, 2014 snapshot date, and who were billed and paid full workers’ compensation premiums over a certain “policy period,” are eligible for the rebate. For private employers, the policy period is from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013; for public employers, it’s from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012.
This rebate is reportedly possible because of stronger than expected investment returns on prior premiums collected for the state insurance fund, including a 13.3 percent return on investments in 2014. According to the Ohio BWC, “sound financial and operational management” has also allowed the BWC to reduce base rates for Ohio’s private employers, reducing combined four-year collections by $409 million.
Another Billion Back expands upon last year’s “A Billion Back” safety investments. This includes safety intervention grants designed to encourage employers to create policies and purchase equipment that will substantially reduce or eliminate injuries in the workplace, enhancing the safety, health and wellness of Ohio workers. Ohio BWC Administrator Buehrer indicated that the rebate and safety grants should provide a boost to Ohio’s economy and support safer workplaces for the state’s workforce.
The Ohio BWC is also launching a new microsite that allows employers to compare injury rates and costs within and across industry sectors, and enables employers to contact Ohio BWC safety consultants who can survey their workplaces and advise them on ideas for preventing injuries and illnesses.