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What to know about workers' compensation in Ohio

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January 27, 2022
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This story originally appeared on Simply Business and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

What to know about workers' compensation in Ohio

Workers’ compensation, which can provide cash and medical care to employees injured on the job, and benefits to survivors in cases of a work-related death, began with a federal program in 1908. It gave benefits to civilian workers whose jobs were hazardous and became the first kind of social insurance established across the United States.

By 1916, the rest of the federal workforce was covered. States meanwhile were enacting their workers’ compensation laws. All but six states and the District of Columbia had them by 1921.

Today, programs exist in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The details of each program vary by state. Four states—Ohio, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming—require insurance be obtained through a state-administered fund rather than through a private insurer. Another option is to self-insure for approved businesses. Most states require some businesses to provide coverage and can levy substantial fines for failing to comply. South Dakota and Texas leave the choice to businesses, although Texas makes an exception for construction companies with a government contract.

Simply Business reviewed rules, statistics, and other information about workers’ compensation insurance—including the comprehensive breakdown by the National Federation of Independent Business—to offer a breakdown of what workers’ comp requirements in each state. Rules are subject to updates periodically, so it’s important to stay up-to-date based on your trade and location.

Workers' Compensation in Ohio

Workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio is purchased through a state-operated fund not through a private insurer. It is required of all employers with at least one employee. The fund was started in 1912 and now has assets of about $28 billion, making it the largest state-operated provider of such insurance in the country. Coverage is optional for some employers, among them sole proprietors, corporate officers of family farms, partners, limited liability companies acting as partnerships or as sole proprietors, and individuals who incorporate and have no employees. Employers that fail to keep up coverage face two penalties, one for not filing a report on time is 1% of the premium; the other is a $30 penalty, plus a charge of 15% of the premium.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Costs, and Coverage, an October 2021 report from the National Academy of Social Insurance, found that total benefits paid to employees rose by 0.4% nationwide from 2015 to 2019. Cash benefits rose by 2%, but medical benefits fell by 1.1%. Standardized benefits fell— cash by 14% and medical benefits by 16.7%—over the same period.

Keep reading to see what workers' compensation looks like for other states in your area.

Workers' Compensation in Indiana

Indiana law says all employees must be covered, however, there are some regulations to note. Independent contractors who work in construction need to be certified with the state’s workers’ compensation board. These independent contractors’ injuries are not covered by workers’ comp. Sole proprietors, partners, and those who are part of a limited liability company are excluded but can opt in. For corporate officers, the reverse is true, they are included, but may opt out. Employers without coverage could face fines of up to $10,000. Failing to report an injury could lead to a fine of up to $20,000.

Workers' Compensation in Kentucky

Who must provide coverage? Employers with at least one employee. But as in many other states, sole proprietors, partners, and those from a limited liability company are not included in the coverage, though they can decide to cover themselves. Some exceptions: servants in a home with fewer than two full-time workers and farmworkers. Independent contractors must have their own policy to be included in coverage. Employers that fail to provide coverage can be fined up to $1,000 a day for each employee. Kentucky offers a state-administered fund.

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