Yesterday, Sean Chichelli, Director of Labor & Human Resources Policy, testified in support of HB 493, which contains the workers’ compensation reforms from Governor Kasich’s mid-biennium review (MBR) bill. Essentially, these reforms touch on three important areas that are critical for employers in Ohio.
First, we’re pleased to see the Bureau embrace a prospective payment system. These reforms will align Ohio’s workers’ compensation premium payment system with standard practices in the insurance industry. Premiums will be paid in advance instead of arrears, as is current practice. This is a more reliable payment system that opens the door for additional improvements for employers like flexible payment options, reduced system costs, fewer incidents of fraud, and a 2% base-rate reduction for private employers.
We also support the BWC’s efforts to help businesses struggling to get workers’ compensation coverage in other states. Employers unable to secure an out-of-state policy will now have the opportunity to be connected to an insurance carrier for coverage through the Bureau at a lower cost. This alleviates financial and regulatory burdens for businesses and allows them to focus on growing, rather than worrying about cutting through government red tape to operate legally in that state.
Finally, the proposed health care changes to the workers’ comp system ensure medical providers are of high quality. They also remove unnecessary barriers to injured workers’ recoveries, including faster payments for initial prescriptions after a claim to ensure their condition. Put simply, we support anything that can help the injured worker get back to work as quickly as possible with as little cost to themselves, their employer, and the overall system.
We hope this bill passes quickly through the legislature so that these positive improvements go into effect as soon as possible.