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Ohio changes workers’ compensation billing system

Ohio’s prospective billing change may lead to uninsured workers’ comp claims

This past summer, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation changed the way it allows businesses to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. In Ohio, workers’ compensation is a state-run insurance program through which all businesses must insure employees against a workplace accident.

Previously, private employers could receive coverage in advance of paying premiums. That is to say, coverage began before the first payment. Ohio has now switched to a “prospective” billing system. Now, employers must pre-pay for workers’ comp coverage.

The Ohio Workers’ Compensation Board will herein issue letters to 240,000 private employers annually, estimating the amount of workers’ compensation costs they can expect to pay. The first prospective bills were issued to employers on August 31, 2015.

Hopefully, the change will not affect employees too much. Ohio initiated the attempt to curb fraud regarding workers’ compensation and to lower premium costs. For injured workers, this is somewhat beneficial, as fraud tends to raise premiums and overall costs.

Where it could be felt, however, is if a business fails to report its payroll on time or fails to pay its bill before it is due. If this occurs, the employer will lose any discounts or cost-savings programs and must pay penalties associated with the failure. If an employer simply refuses to pay the premiums in advance, the employer will not be covered under the workers’ compensation system. In that case, uninsured employers will be responsible for paying the costs associated with any worker injured while on the job.

Employers must carry workers’ compensation under the law

All employers with employees must have an active workers’ compensation policy under Ohio state law. Owner-operated businesses have the option of self-insuring themselves through workers’ compensation. Yet if the owner has even one employee, that owner must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program designed to limit litigation over workplace injuries. Under workers’ compensation, there is no need for the injured worker to prove he or she was not at fault for the injury. Instead, the injured worker must prove that the injury occurred while on the job and is work-related.

If the employer does not carry workers’ compensation, or has failed to pay premiums, then the employee may file a personal injury lawsuit against that employer to recover for injuries.

Injured on the job? Unsure about workers’ compensation? Contact Phillip J. Fulton.

If you or a loved one became injured while on the job, the experienced law firm of Phillip J. Fulton can help. Contact our office to discuss your circumstances and legal options. Because there are numerous deadlines in a workers’ compensation claim, do not delay in seeking out an attorney as soon as you are able after a workplace accident or injury.