COLUMBUS – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Stephen Buehrer has introduced a new rating plan that encourages employers to maintain safe workplaces and to work with injured workers to speed their return to work. It is part of a series of changes considered by the BWC Board of Directors late this week.
“We have designed a rating plan that aligns with our top priority of preventing injuries and getting injured workers healthy and back to work sooner,” said Buehrer. “A quick return to work has the dual benefit of saving money, but more importantly increasing the chances of a positive outcome for the injured worker.”
The new rating plan, Destination: Excellence, aims to improve return-to-work rates by offering employers more choice in building a risk management plan that focuses on safety, prevention and returning those who are injured to their jobs more quickly. The “cafeteria plan” allows employers to select among seven new and existing program options see attached sheet) to customize a plan that addresses their specific needs. The programs address workplace safety and stresses transitional work and vocational rehabilitation programs while providing opportunities to reduce premiums through adoption of best practices and meeting certain performance requirements. Additional savings are also possible for effective policy maintenance such as doing business online and keeping current on premiums.
Buehrer cited a number of troubling trends that led to the focus on return-to-work. Over the past four years, the number of injured workers getting back to work within a year has fallen from 75 percent to below 69 percent. Medical and indemnity costs are rising faster than the national average. And, the cost of BWC’s long term claims is the worst in the nation. Eight years from the date of injury, BWC still has more than 45 percent of total claim costs left to pay out, compared to the nationwide average of 17 percent.
The proposal was introduced to the BWC Board of Directors during its Nov. 17 and 18 meetings and will be up for approval at its next meeting on Friday, Dec. 16. Other rate issues introduced to board this month included changes to simplify certain requirements, better focus some safety requirements and allow for compatibility among rating programs that promote certain behaviors and best practices.
The board today also voted to set the maximum discount for both group and non-group employers at 53 percent, and eliminate the break-even factor beginning July 1, 2012.
“Simplified pricing for the Group Rating Program allows for savings opportunities while remaining within actuarially appropriate parameters and supporting the pricing constancy employers need to plan for the future,” said Buehrer.
Source: Ohio BWC