From The Plain Dealer

Big changes are coming to Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation system, and officials and business groups aim to make sure employers know about them months before they are rolled out.

That is why the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, or BWC, is beginning a push to explain to employers changes in how they will pay premiums, even though such changes won’t take effect until 2015. The Council of Smaller Enterprises, or COSE, is joining the public education effort to make sure the entrepreneurs it serves are aware of the changes. Among them is a new payment deadline that will allow all employers a one-time credit on premiums.

At issue is the state agency transitioning to what is called a prospective billing system. This means that employers must pay Workers’ Comp premiums in advance of receiving coverage. For more than a half-century, employers in Ohio have first received coverage, and then retrospectively paid their premiums.

“This aligns the state with basically every insurance product in the world, ” said Mike O’Donnell, COSE’s Workers’ Compensation director. “We’ve been very much in the dark ages in the way that this insurance has been paid. It was kind of silly that you were paying after the fact. No insurance company would ever do that — charge you after they’ve covered you.”

Employers will see benefits from the changes. They’ll have more flexible payment options – up to 12 installments– instead of semiannual billing. The new system will also make it easier for BWC to provide quotes online or over the phone.

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