COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors recently announced a 9 percent reduction in average workers’ comp rates for local government employers. The board approved BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer’s proposal at its recent meeting for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2016. The reduction, combined with decreases implemented during the past five years, will result in a total average decrease to local government rates of 26.5 percent.
“We’re pleased to once again lower rates for nearly 4,000 public employers, saving them nearly $18 million from just last year,” said Buehrer. “Average premiums for Ohio local government employers are at their lowest levels in more than 30 years. I encourage these employers to use some of their savings to invest in safety, which helps protect their workers and further reduce workers’ comp costs in the future.”
The new rates apply to 3,800 cities, counties, townships, villages, schools and special districts in Ohio. Base rates for each of the 14 classifications associated with the public employer taxing districts program will decrease . The base rate for townships will decrease by 12.7 percent; villages by 8.8 percent; cities by 6.9 percent; counties by 6.2 percent; and school districts will fall by 7.9 percent.
In addition to the overall rate reduction, these public employers will begin paying their premiums under a new prospective billing system beginning Jan. 1. They will join Ohio private employers, which now pay in advance of coverage instead of in arrears. With the transition to the new billing system, local government employers in total will receive an estimated $200 million premium credit that will be credited to their accounts beginning next May.
To help public employers better understand the upcoming billing change, BWC is hosting free, two hour seminars around the state to discuss process changes, timelines and the transition credit. These seminars also include information about workplace safety, and can satisfy training requirements for certain BWC programs. Webinars are also being offered, however this condensed version of the program does not include the additional safety training component and does not qualify for training credit for BWC programs.