Despite the rising costs of medical care, reflected in a MarketScout report that revealed workers’ comp rates rose an average 3 percent in February alone, there are ways employers can reduce their workers’ compensation costs.
For example, even in states, such as Ohio, which are known as monopolies since state government controls workers compensation, discounts can be found. Details about how to reduce workers’ comp costs are the premise behind Rebecca Shafer’s book, "Your Ultimate Guide to Mastering Workers Comp Costs." According to Shafer, president of AMAXX Risk Solutions, employers have a lot of control over their workers’ compensation costs, but often don’t realize it.
According to Adrienne Pietropaolo, an associate with Barnes & Thornburg LLC in Columbus, there are steps an employer can take to impact the cost of their workers comp premiums. They include being proactive by: • Providing a safe working environment • Training employees about the proper uses of equipment • Training supervisors to spot dangerous workplace behaviors and improper working conditions • Learning which workers’ comp claims are worth fighting and which should just be paid
Workers’ comp bureaus provide guidelines delineating safe workplace environments, and Pietropaolo encourages employers to know and follow those suggestions. In addition, in states such as Ohio, which has a monopoly on workers’ comp, she says it is imperative to team with a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Third Party Administrator (TPA). One of their duties is to guide companies about how to follow the state’s WC laws, and they can offer extremely valuable advice on reducing the costs of workers’ compensation, she says.
For example, a TPA can steer an Ohio company proactive about workplace safety to various grants offered by the state’s BWC. Grants are given to employers wishing to implement various workplace safety initiatives. Even in Ohio, which controls WC costs, employers may qualify to become self-insured. However, they must apply with the state’s BWC to request that status. According to Pietropaolo, if accepted into that program, “Employers are put into groups for rating purposes. They check how many injuries your company has had, how to reduce that number and make sure you have a safe workplace, which ultimately can help reduce costs,” she says.
She also suggests employers accept the fact that not all WC claims are worth fighting. If a company is going to spend more defending the claim that going in is clearly a lost cause, she says it’s simply not worth fighting.
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