COLUMBUS – A new coverage option approved today by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors will simplify workers’ comp for businesses with employees who work in other states.
“Meeting your workers’ compensation obligations when you have employees working across state lines can be confusing,” said BWC Administrator and CEO Steve Buehrer. “This policy offering will bring much-needed clarity for these employers and make it easier for them to expand across the border and still make sure their employees are protected.”
Employers must have the majority of their business in Ohio to be eligible for the coverage option. Interested employers will apply directly to BWC, which will determine eligibility and the premium cost for the optional coverage. The vendor will issue a policy to cover out-of-state exposures and respond to any claims filed out of state.
Workers’ comp laws vary by state and the new Other States’ Coverage will help ensure that Ohioans injured on the job will be covered regardless of where they are injured.
While BWC generally provides coverage for employees working temporarily outside of Ohio, complications can arise when the injured worker files a claim in another state. Treatment can be delayed and businesses can be subject to penalties by the other state. By contracting with an insurer licensed in other states, BWC will be able to offer an option that ensures proper coverage regardless of jurisdiction.
A law enacted last year granted BWC the authority to contract with an insurer to provide this coverage, and the board today approved the rules governing the optional policy offering designed by BWC. The policy offering is expected to be in place in the first half of 2016.
“The other-states coverage policy approved by the BWC Board of Directors today offers beneficial solutions to a very common issue faced by many of Ohio’s small employers,” said Roger Geiger, vice president and executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio. “These programs will provide uniformity and certainty to Ohio employers and injured workers by providing a single, reliable entity from which to purchase other state’s coverage. No matter where the injury may arise, the injured worker will be able to receive the appropriate medical care.”
Carolyn Mangas, Government Affairs manager for the Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio, said the association strongly supports the efforts of BWC to implement an other-states’ coverage program for Ohio employers.
“We are pleased to see the development of sensible rules related to BWC’s other-states’ coverage policy offering,” she said. “We appreciate the bureau’s continued commitment to providing Ohio’s businesses and the independent insurance agent community with a solution to the long-standing problem of other states not recognizing Ohio’s workers’ compensation coverage.”