Deferral of Ohio Workers' Compensation premiums and other BWC updates

Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) system is the exclusive provider of workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio.  The BWC serves 249,000 public and private employers. 

Significantly, for employers the BWC has announced that employers’ insurance premium installment payments due for March, April, and May for the current policy year may be deferred until June 1, 2020.  This matter may be reconsidered at that time.

To help businesses facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “BWC will not cancel coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Installment payments due for the three month period  are totaled at approximately $200 million, and that money will now stay in the economy.”

In other BWC news, the BWC, now teleworking, has provided updated information regarding questions surrounding the coronavirus and the effect on the BWC:

  • Compensation will not be paid for COVID-19 quarantine unless COVID-19 is an allowed condition in a claim.
  • BWC is teleworking and will continue to make determinations on new claims.
  • Benefits will be extended for injured workers currently receiving temporary total compensation (TTD) until April 30, 2020 even if the doctor’s office has not submitted a new MEDCO 14.
  • Injured workers receiving living maintenance compensation will continue to receive payments until April 30, 2020.
  • Job searches for will be suspended until April 30, 2020 and all forms of wage loss payments (working wage loss/non-working wage loss, living maintenance wage loss) will be continued. 
  • Injured Worker benefits will not be suspended due to a cancelled Independent Medical Exam (IME).  The IME can be rescheduled. 
  • BWC is suspending all 90 day IME exams and is exploring alternative means of obtaining medical evidence including “virtual exams.” 
  • Claim Service Specialists (CSS) will be monitoring their calls, or contact the BWC call center at 1-800-OHIOBWC. 
  • Normal appeal process will remain in place. 
  • BWC will continue processing additional allowance and TTD requests and will seek file reviews instead of IMEs when possible, along with “virtual” examinations. 
  • BWC is exploring alternative means of obtaining medical evidence for percent of permanent disability (PPD) awards.
  • BWC has suspended face-to face audits for both state fund and self-insure employers.  Paper and virtual audits will continue. BWC will issue temporary certificates to self-insure employers. 

For questions about COVID-19’s effect on the BWC, you can email BWCCOVID19@bwc.state.oh.us or contact your workers’ compensation specialist at McDonald Hopkins LLC with any questions concerning the allowance of a COVID-19 workers’ compensation claim. 

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