Stephanie McCloud, Ohio Workers Compensation Bureau administrator.  JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Workers comp rates could be cut by an average 20 percent

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has proposed a 20 percent cut in the average premium rate it charges private employers statewide — what could be its largest cut in nearly 60 years if approved by the bureau’s directors next month.

Stephanie McCloud, bureau administrator and chief executive, said in a release Tuesday that fewer workplace injuries and falling estimates of expected medical costs are driving the recommendation to lower rates for the ninth time since 2008.

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“We’re pleased Ohio employers recognize that workplace safety is vital to the health of their workforce, their businesses and our state’s economy,” McCloud said in a release from her office. “Their efforts to promote safe and healthy workplaces are clearly paying off, and they’re making it easier for us to maintain low and stable workers’ compensation rates now and into the future.”

The bureau’s board of directors meets Feb. 22. If the rate cut is approved, it would be effective July 1 and would save private employers $244 million over premiums for fiscal year 2019.

The proposed cut would follow a 12 percent reduction last year and a pattern of no increases since 2006, the state agency said.

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It would also follow a 12 percent rate cut for government employers that went into effect Jan. 1.

The bureau states that the average rates for the 242,000 Ohio employers are at their lowest in at least 40 years.

Premiums paid to the agency cover health care and wages for injured workers and support other services.

“Employer participation in these services has grown by more than 70 percent since 2010,” the bureau said. “Claims, meanwhile, have fallen 18 percent over that time to 85,136 in 2018.”

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