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Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich proposed Thursday that a $1 billion dividend rebate be shared among all 210,000 employer customers of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, the state's monopoly workers comp insurer.
Gov. Kasich also proposed tripling Ohio's investment in worker safety grants from $5 million to $15 million annually as well as reducing workers comp rates 2% for private employers and 4% for public entities.
The $1.9 billion required to fund the governor's proposals “is made possible by larger-than-expected fund balances at BWC generated by strong investment management,” the governor said in a statement.
The rebates amount to about 56% of employers' most recent annual premiums and will be paid by check, according to the statement. Dividend checks could go out as early as June, but the rebate first must be approved by the bureau's board of directors.
State officials said the rebates would help stimulate economic growth.
“In addition to injecting a billion dollars into Ohio's economy, this proposal places a strong emphasis on protecting Ohio's workers,” Steve Buehrer, bureau administrator and CEO, said in the statement. “Making investments in safety creates safer workplaces, prevents costly accidents and ultimately results in lower premiums for employers.”
The governor’s proposal also would change how employers pay workers comp premiums.
“Customers would pay (premiums) in advance of their coverage periods instead of after them, as they do now,” according to the statement. “Under the current outdated system, some customers don’t pay their bills for coverage they have already received, which drives up costs for other customers. The new prospective payment system helps prevent that kind of fraud and keeps costs lower.”