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Worker injuries in nearly all industries in Ohio are higher than the national average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio had higher incidents of slips, harmful substances, and transportation accidents than the average state.
These worker incidents can incur a costly loss of time at work, medical expenses, and lost income for the business. Workers’ comp insurance policies work to protect both employees and employers from bearing the brunt of these expenses.
Ohio workers’ comp is how Ohio chooses to protect its workers. The state employs a monopoly for workers compensation insurance. This is regulated by the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation.
This article will answer the important questions you need to know about OH workers comp insurance, including:
History of Ohio’s workers compensation insurance
What is Ohio workers’ compensation insurance?
How much coverage does Ohio’s workers compensation insurance give?
Which businesses are exempt from getting workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio?
How to get workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio?
Cost of workers compensation insurance in Ohio
Workman's comp in Ohio began in 1911 with the establishment of a state-run insurance agency. Before 1911, employees had to file a tort claim in court to recoup any losses due to an injury or illness at work.
This was notoriously difficult because employers had many legal tools and just more resources at their disposal to win these court hearings. This dynamic also led to situations where in the rare cases that employees won their lawsuits, they would be awarded such high damages because of the severity of the case that the employers would often become bankrupt.
The Worker’s Compensation Act of 1911 was passed and aimed to address this issue. With industrialization making workplace injury and death more commonplace, state insurance was put forth to compensate those injured workers.
The Ohio workers compensation system was run by the Industrial Commission until 1955 when the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation was made. Today, the Industrial Commission of Ohio is still responsible for resolving any workers’ comp claim disputes.
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Ohio workers compensation insurance is the policy managed by Ohio’s Bureau of Workers Compensation and put in place to protect workers from the costs associated with their jobs. Employees can experience minor to major injuries or illnesses that can be costly to remedy. Workers’ comp helps cover a few different expenses, such as:
The types of injuries that employees can incur in Ohio that are commonly covered include:
Falls due to unsafe working conditions
Injuries resulting from lifting and moving while on the job
Exposure to chemicals and other toxic substances
Carpal tunnel-related injuries
Injuries resulting from co-worker negligence
Back injuries, brain injuries, limb loss, broken bones, and anything else that happened during the ordinary course of the employee’s job
Ohio requires that all employers that have one or more employees must have workers’ compensation insurance by law. An employer that does not have Ohio workers comp opens themselves up to liability during any period of lapsed coverage.
If an accident occurs during a period with no workers’ comp, they open themselves up to be sued for the full extent of damages and expenses, as well as reimbursing the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for having to investigate the claim.
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation can also levy heavy penalties for any employer who fails to file for workers' comp coverage. Failure to file on time will result in a penalty of 1 percent of the premium due, as well as a $30 flat penalty charge.
The BWC can also increase this penalty charge to up to 15 percent of the premium if the employer is late filing or sending a premium payment. They may also file the assessment of a lien to recover any nonpayments of the premium or additional claims cost for any time the employer does not have coverage.
Ohio workers’ comp gives coverage and benefits to a number of different situations. These are broken down into categories and listed below:
|Benefit||What is Covered||Weekly Coverage Benefit Payout in 2023|
|Temporary Total Compensation||Anytime a worker becomes temporarily unable to work due to illness or injury||$1,149|
|Permanent Partial Scheduled Loss||The worker is compensated for permanent damage remaining from a work injury like loss of sight, hearing, or limbs||$1,149|
|Percent of Permanent Partial||Compensates an employer for a percentage of the permanent damage that remains even after the incident. An example would be someone not being able to extend their leg fully anymore.||$383|
|Permanent Total Disability||Compensates a worker when their injury or illness disables them to such a degree that they can no longer perform the same paid work||$574|
|Wage Loss||Covers any lost or unrealized wages due to the employee’s injury or illness||$1,149|
|Living Maintenance||Pays for the costs of maintaining the mending of their injury like a rehabilitation program.||$766|
|Death Claim||A beneficiary may file a death claim to recover benefits in the event of a worker's death.||$574-$1,149|
A few benefit types don’t have a weekly payout, rather they are specific to the individual situation or are only awarded once:
|Benefit||What is Covered||Benefit Payout|
|Facial Disfigurement||A one-time award is handed to an employee who has significant damage to the head or face, which will hinder future employment opportunities||$10,000|
|Lump Sum Advancement||A pre-payment that compensates the employee for changes to their lives due to injuries. This includes things like installing a wheelchair lift at home||Varies based on the remaining weeks of compensation unpaid|
|Lump Sum Settlement||A one-time payment that employees can apply for to settle all the costs of their workers' comp claim. This settlement resolves all past and future compensation issues of the single claim||The settlement amount is negotiated between the employee and employer and the BWC sends an approval letter to the Industrial Commission of Ohio|
|Accrued Compensation||Any unpaid workers comp benefits that pay out to beneficiaries at the time of the employee’s death||Any remaining unpaid benefits|
|Change of Occupation||Covers costs for employees who are medically advised to change their line of work||Dependent on the industry and training requirements|
|Travel Reimbursement||Covers the cost of reasonable travel expenses related to the claim||$94 per night for lodging|
58 cents per mile for travel
$55.25 for meals
|Violation of Specific Safety Requirements||Compensates injured workers or beneficiaries of dead workers after a workplace safety violation||15%-50% additional payout of the weekly benefit|
|Wages in Lieu of Temporary Total Compensation||A program where an employer voluntarily chooses to pay the worker’s full salary and any benefits in exchange for the employee losing the right to any worker's compensation||No payout from BWC|
The majority of businesses in Ohio are required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are some exceptions which include:
Partnerships with no employees
Sole proprietors that have no employees
Limited liability companies that are acting as sole proprietors that have no employees
Individuals that have incorporated as a business with no employees
Ordained leaders or ministers of religious organizations excluding paid employees
To file for an exemption for workers’ comp you must navigate to the for employers section of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Under the employer resource section, they have a form employers must fill up to apply for an exemption from workers’ comp status and a waiver of any benefits.
To get workers’ compensation for your business, you need to navigate to the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation website. On their online portal, you can create an account and apply for workers’ comp insurance for your business. After setting up your workers’ comp insurance account and paying the first premium, you will officially have workers’ comp coverage from the moment the payment is confirmed.
Here’s how workers comp claims in Ohio are filed in general:
The worker reports the incident to the employer
The worker and employer fill out their portions of the claim filing. The claim is then submitted through the mail or by fax.
After submitting the claim, the BWC will determine whether to allow the requested benefits
The worker is responsible for any follow-ups or claims disputes as part of their claim and may need to file a claim dispute
A statute of limitations applies to claims depending on the date of the injury or death.
|Claim Date||Statute of Limitations|
|Before September 29, 2017||Within one year of injury or death|
|Before September 28, 2021||Within two years of death or employee becoming aware through medical diagnosis or received first medical treatment or date of quitting work due to disease|
|On or after September 28, 2021||Within one year of death or one year of the employee becoming aware through a medical diagnosis or receiving medical treatment or quitting work due to disease|
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Estimates state that workers comp insurance in Ohio costs 67 cents per $100 of covered payroll and average rates for businesses are $45 per month. However, actual Ohio workers compensation premium rates will vary depending on payroll size, industry, and location. Premiums are calculated through a blended rate for every $100 of payroll. The table below explains how blended workers comp rates are calculated:
|Modified Premium Rate+||Administrative Cost Rate+||Disabled Workers Relief Fund +||Blended insurance rate per $100 of payroll|
|The BWC applies a base rate based on your industry class and multiplies it by a modifier based on your companies experience in the industry and prediction of the number of future claims||The BWC estimates the administrative costs they will need to expend to cover the policy as well as any operating costs of the Industrial Commission of Ohio||A series of funds that provides cost-of-living rate increases to workers injured before 1987. A different rate is applied to any injury after 1986||The previous columns are added together to get the final blended insurance rate per $100 of payroll. This number is used to calculate your workers' comp insurance premium|
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