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Ohio state insurance fund ready to appeal court decision

A state funded system to cover workplace injuries in a blessing in many cases. Ohio's workers' compensation system does just that: it covers the cost of injuries when an employee is injured at work or during the course of employment. Workers' comp is good news for employers too because it lessens their burden of having to pay these employees for their injuries. Overall, the system makes it possible to provide coverage for employees while not bankrupting companies and employers and reducing the need for personal injury claims.

But the system starts to fall apart when employers are asked to pay increasingly high insurance premiums for workers' comp. The payments start to become cost-prohibitive. Only a month ago, a judge in Cleveland ruled that the state insurance fund owes Ohio employers $859 million as a whole for over charging them for almost ten years. The high insurance premiums were paid to cover injured employees.

The state plans to appeal the decision but in the meantime and employee organization is creating an informational website that will allow businesses, employers in particular, to see how much money they would receive from this ruling. The court's decision affects almost 300,000 employers, mainly small businesses. Because the ruling is part of a class-action lawsuit, many of these businesses may not know that they will receive an award.

The lawsuit all began in 2007. It claimed that that state insurance fund gave preferential discounts on premiums to companies that joined group plans and charged those businesses excessively high rates that did not opt into the groups. The judge found the premiums charged from July 2001 to June 2009 to be unfair.

Source: NBC 4i, "Businesses Organizing In Support Of Workers Comp Refund," Ted Hart, April 5, 2013

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