News and Analysis
Read OMA Connections Partner Dismore’s take on House Bill 308, costly legislation that would significantly expand Ohio’s workers’ compensation benefits and expenses. Last month, the Ohio House voted 74-22 to pass HB 308, which would provide first responders with workers’ compensation benefits to treat PTSD, even when there is no physical injury. The OMA opposes the bill, which is currently pending in the Ohio Senate. 3/11/2020
Attorney General Dave Yost this week rejected the summary language for a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. According to the AG, the summary did not constitute a “fair and truthful” representation of the issue.
If supporters successfully resubmit a new summary with 1,000 valid signatures and eventually get the green light from the AG and Ballot Board, they will need to gather roughly 443,000 valid signatures from registered voters by July 1 to get the issue on the November 2020 ballot. In 2015, Ohioans rejected legalizing recreational use of marijuana (State Issue 3) by a 64% to 36% margin. 3/11/2020
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) board of directors has approved a $132 million, 13% average premium rate cut for private employers. Effective July 1, the reduction will mark BWC’s third-largest cut in 60 years. It follows last year’s 20% rate cut. Actual premiums paid will depend on several factors. For information on steps you can take to reduce your premiums, contact the OMA Workers’ Compensation Services team by emailing Brian Jackson or your account manager — Karen James, Melissa Ross or Juliet Walker. 3/4/2020
Employers who participate in the Ohio BWC’s Drug-Free Safety Program are reminded that the required annual report, which enables payment of the program participation rebate, is due March 31. To get started, click this link. If you have questions, contact your BWC representative, or call 1-800-644-6292. 03/04/2020
The BWC’s next employer webinar is Tuesday, March 10, at 1:30 p.m. This free, 25-minute webinar will cover how BWC determines if a claim is allowed, elective coverage types, important dates, and the BWC’s monthly safety tip. Register to attend online — or sign up to attend in person at your nearest BWC service office. 3/5/2020
Talent retention is more important than ever, especially after an injury or illness. A new federally funded program — called Ohio RETAIN — is exploring strategies to get individuals who have suffered a non-work-related health problem back on the job promptly and safely.
Managed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services in coordination with Mercy Health, the program is currently in its pilot phase in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties, with a planned expansion into Northwest and Southwest Ohio this fall. Learn more or email Ohio RETAIN to request a consultation. 3/2/2020
March 2, 2020, was the deadline for electronically reporting your OSHA Form 300A data (for work-related injuries and illnesses) for last year. If you haven’t already done so, you still can and should submit your report. The collection of 2019 data will include your establishment’s Employer Identification Numbers (EIN), which is new.
Studies show that fraud represents between 5% and 20% of all workers’ compensation benefits paid — equal to between $100 million and $400 million of the medical and compensation payments made every year by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). That was just one takeaway from this week’s OMA Safety and Workers’ Compensation Committee meeting, the first of 2020.
OMA members heard informative presentations from BWC officials on the bureau’s special investigations department and its self-insured operations. Other highlights were updates on pending legislation, including a proposal to allow mental-only conditions — such as PTSD — to be covered under Ohio’s workers’ comp.
The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 11. All OMA members are welcome to register to participate either in person or by phone. 2/26/2020
This week, the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee passed House Bill 81. Supported by the OMA, the bill is a workers’ compensation catch-all that makes a variety of positive changes to the system for manufacturers. HB 81 is expected to be voted on by the full Ohio Senate in the near future. 2/27/2020
Reports circulated this week that there’s another effort afoot to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio. According to Cleveland.com, supporters may attempt to place a proposed constitutional amendment before voters on the November 2020 ballot. In 2015, Ohioans rejected legalizing the recreational use of marijuana (State Issue 3) by a 64% to 36% margin. 2/26/2020