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School districts, cities and other Ohio local government employers could see a 6.1% reduction in their workers compensation premiums beginning Jan. 1, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation announced Thursday.
Bureau Chief Executive Officer Sarah Morrison asked the board of directors on Thursday during its actuarial committee meeting to grant the reduction for Ohio’s 3,700 public entities.
“This rate cut demonstrates our commitment to maintaining low rates for public employers and the communities they serve,” said Ms. Morrison in a press statement. "A number of factors make the reduction possible, including declining claims and a favorable forecast for future average claim costs.”
If the board approves the reduction at its Sept. 28 meeting, public employers will pay $11.8 million less in premiums than in 2017. The cut would also bring the total decrease to local government rates since the start of 2011 to 33.9% for a combined statewide financial impact of $434 million. The bureau also delivered more than $135 million in rebate checks to these employers in July.
The decrease represents a reduction to the statewide average of the collectible rates for public employer taxing districts. Actual premium changes for individual public entities will differ based on several factors, including their manual classification, recent claims history and program participation, according to a press statement.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation’s new rule aimed at discouraging lumbar fusion surgery and use of opioids for workers with back injuries is consistent with best medical practices and unlikely to face legal challenge, according to some experts.