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What does it mean that Ohio is a "monopolistic" state?

Most states allow employers to shop around and purchase insurance on the private market. However, Ohio is one of four states in the country that uses a different system, making it a "monopolistic" state when it comes to workers' compensation insurance.

Basically, Ohio law requires almost every employer to purchase workers' compensation insurance to cover any workplace injuries or illnesses a person suffers while on the job. Unlike most other states, though, the employer has no choice about where to go for an insurance policy; the employer must purchase the insurance from the state, although a large employer may have the option of doing what is called "self-insuring" or coming up with a fund to manage their own workers' compensation payments. Even an employer with employees in several states will have to purchase a separate Ohio policy through the proper state board.

It is important for people, especially Cincinnati employers, to remember that Ohio's system is not as radically different as one might suppose. Even in other states, where employers can do some shopping for insurance, workers' compensation is tightly regulated and subject to strict rate controls.

What all of this means for an employee, though, is that when they are dealing with a workers' compensation claim, they are in effect dealing with an administrative arm of the state of Ohio. Although ideally state agencies are not interested in a profit or saving money at the expense of workers, the reality is that red tape and other obstacles can stand in the way of injured worker getting the benefits he or she needs and deserves. Sometimes, legal assistance is helpful in getting a satisfactory result in a workers' compensation claim.

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