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Understanding Ohio Law

Ohio law requires employers to obtain workers' compensation insurance for all their employees. Ohio employers are either state-funded or self-insuring.

State-fund employers are private and public employers, except for state agencies, who pay an insurance premium to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) to buy a workers' compensation policy. BWC then pays compensation benefits directly to the worker for any work-related injury. The employer's managed care organization (MCO) manages the injured worker's health care and helps him/her return to work.

Self-insuring employers do not pay an insurance premium to BWC, but rather “retain their exposure” (take the financial risk) to pay the claims cost for their employee's work-related injury. Self-insuring employers then pay workers' compensation benefits directly to their employees. Refer to the Self-Insured Employers section for more information.

Reasons for coverage
By Ohio law, employers with one or more employees must have workers’ compensation coverage and those with coverage must keep their policy information updated.

For example, you will need to contact BWC to begin a policy or update information if you are:

  • Starting a new business.
  • Working as an independent contractor or subcontractor and you have employees.
  • Acquiring, merging, purchasing, and/or selling a business.
  • Updating your existing workers' compensation policy.

For a few employers, workers' compensation coverage is elective. Refer to Elective coverage page to learn more.