Up to $1.6 billion for employers among several measures aimed at weakening COVID-19’s impact
By Stephanie McCloud, BWC Administrator/CEO
One of our core values at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is Relentless Excellence — we are unyielding in our delivery of outstanding service to our customers.
Not just sometimes or in ordinary times, but all the time. This includes the extraordinary times we find ourselves in today given the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presents to our economy and virtually every facet of our daily lives.
I hope our customers — Ohio’s injured workers and our employer community — would agree. When the COVID-19 crisis emerged in early March, Governor Mike DeWine called on his agencies, including BWC, to do all we can to support our fellow Ohioans and our business community through these unprecedented times.
We’re doing our best. Take a look.
- We are sending our private and public employers up to $1.6 billion this month — 100% of the premium they paid in policy year 2018 — to ease COVID-19’s impact on their bottom line and our economy. We started sending checks on Monday, April 20, and should wrap up by Monday, April 27.
- Before our Board of Directors approved our dividend April 10, we deferred premium payments for employers for March, April, and May until June 1.
“BWC will not cancel coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted, announcing the deferment on March 21 during Governor DeWine’s daily press briefing. “Installment payments due for the three-month period are totaled at approximately $200 million, and that money will now stay in the economy.”
- We are working with injured workers to gather the necessary medical evidence to continue benefits that were set to expire on April 30.
- We have created a special team to handle the newly filed COVID-19 claims to provide them with careful attention.
- We relaxed or waived deadlines for the following programs that save employers money on their premiums. We are applying the discounts automatically.
– Drug Free Safety Program.
– Grow Ohio.
– EM Cap.
– Industry Specific Safety Program.
– One Claim Program.
– Policy Activity Rebate Program.
- When Governor DeWine and other state leaders called on all Ohioans to help shore up Ohio’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supply, BWC responded. Our employees across Ohio uncovered and donated hundreds of N-95 masks, safety goggles, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizers, wipes and more.
- We have stopped pursuing collections efforts.
- We continue to make timely payments to our medical providers.
- We are embracing the use of telemedicine to help injured workers connect with their medical and therapy providers.
- We continue to issue new workers’ comp policies.
- We are temporarily waiving some annual requirements for self-insured businesses to ensure they continue operations with certificates of coverage.
Here are some other actions our state is taking to help us through this difficult time:
- Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted have launched a new “Ohio, Find It Here” campaign to help residents support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit ohio.org/SupportLocalOhio.
- The state is asking residents and businesses who can donate personal protective equipment (PPE), or any other essential service or resource, to please email Together@Governor.Ohio.Gov.
- Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888-642-8203, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov.
Clearly, business is NOT as usual in Ohio, but our work continues, and we remain committed to excellent service for our customers.
Remember — We are #InThisTogetherOhio.
For more on our programs, visit bwc.ohio.gov. For more on COVID-19 as it relates to BWC, visit this Frequently Asked Questions page. For other questions about COVID-19 related to BWC, you can email BWCCOVID19@bwc.state.oh.us.
For the latest on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit the Ohio Department of Health website coronavirus.ohio.gov, or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.