More than a quarter-million Ohio employers are suing the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, claiming they were overbilled on insurance premiums by at least $1.3 billion, a sum the agency says was fair.
Opening statements in the case began Monday, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer
, which said the arguments focus on whether premium discounts given by the bureau to businesses that banded together were offset by higher premiums charged to those who weren't part of the group discount program.
Businesses involved in the lawsuit provided evidence of firms of similar size that paid different insurance rates between 2001 and 2008. In one case, a carpentry firm paid more than $48,000 a year for insurance while another of the same size paid only $4,805.
But attorney Robert Hager, representing the bureau, told the court some of the businesses who brought the lawsuit were actually members at various times of the group insurance plan and benefited from lower payments at the time.
Hager noted that one company claiming it paid $178,000 in excessive premiums actually received $6.2 million in discounts when it belonged to a group program.
"We'd like the court to see the whole picture," Hager said.
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