Categories: Policy & Regulation, Workers' Compensation,
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Ohio BWC Administrative Cost Fund

The Administrative Cost Fund receives assessments from each private employer that are calculated as a percentage of the premiums paid by that employer to BWC. This assessment funds the operating expenses of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. A first reading with the BWC Board of Directors occurred in May 2012 to recommend a 3% decrease in the assessment for private employers for the 2013 rate year. On June 15, 2012 the Board will vote on this proposal.

Categories: Policy & Regulation, Workers' Compensation,
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Private Employer Ohio BWC Rates, No Change

The BWC Board of Directors approved the 2013 rate proposal on May 24, 2012, created by BWC’s Actuarial Department, to make no change to the statewide average rates for private employers for the policy year beginning July 1st.   Last year, the Board approved a 4% average rate reduction which was estimated to save private employer’s $65 million in premiums. Maintaining the average rate reduction from last year will continue to allow private employers to preserve and create more jobs in Ohio.

Each private employer may see an increase or decrease in their premiums based on their individual claim cost performance.

If you have questions about your premiums, or would like a premium projection, contact a Sheakley representative today!

Categories: Policy & Regulation, Workers' Compensation,
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Ohio BWC Enterprise Report May 2012

On May 24th, Chief of Fiscal and Planning for BWC, Tracy Valentino, reported that BWC’s net assets increased by $201 million in April resulting in net assets of $7.2 billion at April 30, 2012.

The total net assets have increased by $1.4 billion for fiscal year-to-date 2012 resulting in net assets of $7.2 billion at April 30, 2012 compared to $5.8 billion at April 30, 2011.

BWC is in the process of researching other workers’ compensation organizations to review their Funding Ratio and Net Leverage target guidelines to determine if changes need to be made to the BWC’s Net Asset Policy. There have been several options for consideration regarding BWC’s net assets, but no proposals to the Board of Directors have been submitted.

Categories: Policy & Regulation, Unemployment,
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Unemployment Benefits for School Employees

Looking ahead to the end of this school year many districts will be sending letters to their employees giving them reasonable assurance. Employees working under continuing contracts are considered to have reasonable assurance and should be found ineligible for benefits during the summer months as long as their contract is intact for the upcoming school year and there are no other mitigating factors that could cause them to be eligible for unemployment.

Reasonable assurance in written form provides an employee of a school district with notice that it is the “intent of the district to have the individual return in the same capacity during the upcoming school year or term.” This means that a person with written reasonable assurance, no matter what position they are in, has the understanding that while they will be unemployed during the district’s traditional break, they will be returning to work for the district when the next school year or term resumes.

The key to this is “in the same capacity” which means that a person who worked as a casual, as needed substitute only returns as a casual, as needed substitute – a cafeteria employee who works only part time is returning as a part time cafeteria employee. These individuals may be found ineligible for unemployment benefits during the summer months if they are given reasonable assurance in a written form. The forms of assurance that are acceptable include: contract, letter of reasonable assurance, board approval.

Reasonable assurance is only valid from the date it is actually given to the employee, so it is best to provide the assurance prior to the last date of the current school year. It should be noted that reasonable assurance does not apply during the active school year. It is only applicable during breaks between terms, i.e., winter, spring, and summer break.

Categories: Policy & Regulation,
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IRS Releases Notice 2012-40 Giving Guidance for the $2,500 FSA Limit!

1. The IRS Notice 2012-40 answers the question: “What defines a tax year in applying the Health FSA $2,500 limit?” The notice specifically states the cafeteria plan year is the “tax year”. The notice determines that an “off calendar year” can fall into 2013 and still have an unlimited Health FSA amount.

2. The 2.5 month claim filing extension can also be continued even though the employer’s plan may end sometime in 2013.

3. If an employee and spouse work at the same company, they are allowed to enroll for $2,500 each. Notice 2012-40 addresses this question on page 5. Furthermore, spouses who work at different companies can each elect $2,500.

4. The $2,500 Health FSA limit does not apply to premium conversion a.k.a. Premium Only Plans (POP), and other various options in a cafeteria plan; such as Dependent Care. 

5. Amendments to plan documents are required for the $2,500 limit for all plans that start in 2013. 

6. Stunning news–The IRS is requesting input from taxpayers on how to construct a new “use it or lose it rule”. Yes, you read it right. Tax payers are encouraged to contact the IRS with feedback. Address information is located at the bottom of the Notice.

Need assistance with your Flexible Spending Account Compliance, contact Sheakley Flex today! 

Categories: Strategy & Industry Insights, Workers' Compensation,
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8 Questions You Should Ask of Any MCO

Workers’ Compensation costs can have an adverse affect on a business’s bottom line. The less time days incurred for your workers’ compensation claims, the lower your premiums should be. Therefore, you should make sure your MCO is a good fit for your business. When making this decision, here are 8 questions you should ask of any MCO.

  1. How can your MCO help my business save money on my workers’ compensation premiums?
  2. How quickly do you get an injured worker back to work?
  3. What are the different strategies used to help facilitate return to work for an injured employee?
  4. List three medical providers located in the area of my business.
  5. Can your company customize injury packets?
  6. Is there an on-line system to access my account?
  7. Do you have a sample report I can review?
  8. Can I get a few references?