By Marc Kovac
Ohio private businesses and public offices would see another $1 billion in workers’ compensation rebates in comings months under a proposal by Gov. John Kasich’s administration.
If OK’d by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation board, it would mark the second billion-dollar-rebate year, with checks expected to be sent to recipients in October.
Additional funds will be used to provide grants to improve workplace safety, train firefighters and increase health and wellness programming.
“To the employers across Ohio, you’ve got a big chunk of money coming back to you,” Kasich said Wednesday. “Some will be smaller, some will be larger. Local governments will get money back, and it’s always great to be in a government that can respond and help the folks we were elected to serve.”
Kasich and BWC Administrator Steve Buehrer said double-digit returns on investments and the resulting insurance fund balance “far exceeds” guidelines set to ensure adequate proceeds to pay workers’ compensation costs.
“We actually could have rebated more than a billion, but I think the billion is the right number because it will have a significant impact on employers but at the same time will give us a little extra cushion because who the heck knows what’s going to happen to this economy and this market over the period of the next year,” Kasich said.
The resulting rebates will equal about 60 percent of what private and public employers paid in premiums from July 2012-June 2013. An estimated 184,000 private and 3,800 public employers are expected to receive the payments.
Businesses and local government offices received average rebates of about $4,000 during last year’s $1 billion rebate, Buehrer said. Rebates ranged from about $5 to about $8,000.
The BWC board will review the rebate proposal later this month, with final approval slated for September.
“Assuming they approve it, checks will begin to flow as early as October,” Buehrer said.