5/15/2013, 7:33 a.m.

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) would return $112.8 million to nearly 3,800 local governments and schools under the $1 billion rebate proposed by Governor John Kasich and BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer last week. The proposal also includes a tripling of safety grants and a 4 percent rate reduction for public employers. The rebates and reforms are made possible by larger-than-expected fund balances at BWC generated by strong investment management.

“Our goal is to support the health and safety of Ohio workers while maintaining stable workers’ compensation rates for employers, including local governments,” said Buehrer. “This rebate will return nearly $113 million to local governments and schools who are already seeing the lowest rates in 30 years thanks to recent annual rate reductions.”

Out of the $112.8 million being returned, schools will receive the largest portion of the rebate – approximately $42.5 million – followed by cities receiving $37 million, counties receiving $16.5 million and townships receiving $7.6 million. Some of Ohio’s local governments and schools are self-insured and do not pay into the BWC system and are therefore not impacted by the rebate plan.

· Click here for a searchable list of local rebates

· Click here for rebate totals by county and entity-type

· Click here for a Ohio map with county rebate totals

The amount each public employer will receive equals approximately 56 percent of their annual workers’ compensation insurance premium. That premium is based on the size of their payroll and is modified by factors such as the type of work their employees do and claims experience. If approved by the BWC Board of Directors on May 30, checks could be mailed as early as June or July.

The proposal will be funded from BWC’s net assets, which have grown to $8.3 billion and are far in excess of the target funding ratio of assets to liabilities established by the BWC board in 2008.

The entire $1.9 billion proposal includes:

· Issuing $1 billion in rebates to Ohio’s approximately 210,000 public and private employers that pay into the State Insurance Fund as early as this summer.

· Tripling Ohio’s Safety and Wellness Grant programs to $15 million for the July 1, 2013 policy year to further emphasize safety in the workplace and to better protect Ohio’s workers. The grant expansion would coincide with a public push by the Governor and BWC to encourage employers to invest in preventing accidents and protecting Ohio’s working men and women. 39 public employers received nearly $713,000 in safety grants in fiscal year 2012, helping to increase safety in their workplaces.

· Granting BWC authority to bill employers prospectively – or in advance of the coverage period, which would result in a rate decrease of 4 percent for public employers and 2 percent for private employers. Currently businesses are billed for the previous six months of workers’ compensation coverage, and moving to prospective billing would improve collection rates and allow for more flexible payment options. If approved by the legislature, BWC would credit employers an estimated $900 million to avoid their having to “double pay” as the system moves from paying in arrears to paying in advance.