Sunday, Jul 31, 2016
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Ohio communities could get rebates from state insurance

COLUMBUS — Local governments and schools in Ohio could receive almost $113 million in rebates from the state insurance fund for injured workers under a proposal from the governor.

Gov. John Kasich’s office on Monday released a breakdown of the schools, townships, cities, and other public employers who could receive a payout from the $1 billion rebate plan Mr. Kasich proposed earlier this month.

About 210,000 businesses and public employers could receive the rebates in June or July, should the board of directors at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation approve the plan.

Checks would range from $5 to more than $3 million.

The board of directors is scheduled to meet May 30 to consider the idea.

Money for the one-time rebate stems from solid investments by the agency, which provides workers’ compensation insurance for Ohio employers and covers about two-thirds of the state’s work force.

RELATED CONTENT: News release from Gov. Kasich's office

The agency’s net assets have grown to $8.3 billion.

Not all local governments or schools would get a rebate, because some employers are self-insured and don’t pay into the bureau’s system.

But nearly 3,800 local governments and schools would receive checks, the Kasich administration said.

Schools would receive about $42.5 million in total — the largest slice of the $112.8 million being returned to public employers. Cities would get $37 million, while counties would see $16.5 million. Townships could expect $7.6 million.

The Kasich plan also calls for increasing the amount of money for safety grants to $15 million from $5 million. The bureau’s grant program provides matching funds to employers who purchase equipment to reduce injuries or illnesses on the job.

In addition, the bureau is asking the legislature to approve an overhaul of how it bills its employers. And the agency said the changes would result in rate cuts of 2 percent for private employers and 4 percent for public employers.

Employers pay their workers’ compensation premium for the previous six months of coverage. The agency wants to move to “prospective” billing, so it can collect employer premiums for an upcoming policy period.

The bureau said it would ask its board for a $900 million credit for employers to help with the transition to the new billing system.

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