Grow Ohio Incentive Program
Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4123.29, 4123.34; Ohio Administrative
Code (OAC) 4123-17-69,
4123-17-74 Appendix A,
July 1, 2015
All policies and procedures regarding Grow Ohio that
predate the effective date of this policy.
New July 1, 2011; Revised January 1, 2013; May 2, 2014;
July 1, 2015.
July 1, 2017
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’
Compensation (BWC) will permit new employers to participate in the Grow Ohio
Incentive Program in accordance with the applicable laws and rules.
This policy applies to employers,
authorized representatives, BWC Employer Programs, and Policy Processing.
eligibility evaluation date: Each April 1 of the program eligibility period
for a private employer (PA) and each October 1 of the program eligibility
period for a public employer taxing district (PEC).
application for coverage: The employer’s initial application for coverage as
provided for in OAC 4123-17-13(A).
C. Initial policy
year: The policy year including the date on which the new employer’s
coverage becomes effective.
D. New employer:
An employer creating one or more jobs in the state of Ohio on or after July 1,
2011, and for which any of the following is true:
employer is a new business entity made amenable to Ohio workers’ compensation
laws by such job creation; or,
employer is an out of state employer that has not had prior operations in Ohio
and has not had prior workers’ compensation insurance coverage in Ohio.
new employer’s initial policy year and the two consecutive policy years
a PA employer that started in Grow Ohio prior to July 1, 2015, BWC may extend
the program eligibility period to end on the last day of the policy year (June
employer must be a new employer (as defined above).
will permit a successor employer to participate in Grow Ohio only under the
employer is participating in Grow Ohio, and;
is a new employer as defined above, and;
Successor’s program eligibility period will end on the same date as the
following employers are not eligible to participate in Grow Ohio:
Professional Employer Organization (PEO) as defined in OAC 4123-17-15.
self-insuring employer or a state fund employer that was previously self-insured.
A public employer, if the employer is not:
A public nonprofit, nonsectarian, community school that operates
independently of any school district under contract with an authorized
sponsoring entity and was established under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 3314
A public-private partnership securing workers’ compensation insurance
under ORC 4123.03.
employer for which a combination or transfer of experience is indicated under
employer that BWC determines is essentially the same employer for which
coverage has previously been provided, including a debtor-in-possession
An employer that elects to participate in a program that is incompatible
with Grow Ohio, as set forth in OAC 4123-17-74, Appendix
will review the employer on the continuing eligibility evaluation date to
determine if it continues to be eligible for Grow Ohio.
continue participation, as of each continuing eligibility evaluation date, the
employer must have active workers’ compensation coverage according to the
The employer must be current with respect to all payments due BWC as
defined in OAC 4123-17-14.
The employer must be current on the payment schedule of any part-pay
agreement it entered into for payment of premiums or assessment obligations.
The employer must not have cumulative lapses in workers’ compensation
coverage in excess of forty (40) days within the prior twelve (12) months.
will immediately remove an employer from Grow Ohio if the employer fails to
report actual payroll for a policy year, and fails to pay any premium owed upon
reconciliation of estimated premium and actual premium, no later than the
expiration of any applicable grace period.
Requirements / BWC evaluation of eligibility.
is no specific application form for Grow Ohio. BWC automatically evaluates an
employer’s eligibility for the program at the time the employer files an
application for coverage.
may determine an alternate initial policy year for the employer for Grow Ohio. Factors
that may cause BWC to determine an alternate initial policy year include, but
are not limited to:
employer established coverage during the last thirty (30) calendar days of a policy
employer was granted an earlier or later effective date of coverage through the
BWC Complaint or Adjudication process.
C. Operation of
percent (25%) discount.
will automatically provide eligible employers with a twenty-five percent (25%) discount
on blended premium.
will apply the discount for the duration of the employer’s program eligibility
The employer elects the Group Experience Rating Program (Group Rating). An
employer that later exits Group Rating may receive the twenty-five percent (25%)
discount for any remaining policy years in the program eligibility period.
The employer fails to meet continuing eligibility requirements set forth
in OAC 4123-17-69.
The employer fails to report actual payroll for the initial policy year,
and fails to pay any premium owed upon reconciliation of estimated premium and
actual premium, no later than any applicable grace period.
The discount will NOT:
Apply to any prior-to-coverage penalties.
Apply to any findings of premium deficiencies resulting from an audit of
the employer in which BWC determines the employer misrepresented or failed to
report payroll for any period.
Apply to deductible claim cost billings.
to the minimum administrative charge outlined in OAC 4123-17-26.
for Group Rating.
Grow Ohio, BWC waives the Group Rating application deadline set forth in OAC 4123-17-74,
The employer must meet all other Group Rating requirements set forth in
OAC 4123-17-61 through 4123-17-68.
The employer’s participation in Group Rating in policy years subsequent
to the policy year it received a waiver under Grow Ohio for the Group Rating
deadline, is subject to all the requirements set forth in OAC 4123-17-61
will provide new employers with a link
to Third Party Administrator (TPA) information on the Grow Ohio service
offering on www.bwc.ohio.gov. This link
will provide a list of TPAs that offer Group Rating services and the industry
groups that are available with each TPA. BWC provides TPAs with a service
offering that lists employers that have applied for coverage or have been
assigned a risk (policy) number.
The employer must file an Employer Statement for Group-Experience-Rating
Program (AC-26) form with the Group sponsoring organization. The sponsoring
organization must electronically submit the fully executed AC-26 and an
addendum to the Employer Roster for Group-Experience-Rating Program (AC-25) for
the employer’s initial policy year, to BWC. The electronic submission must be
made within thirty (30) days of the date BWC assigns a risk (policy) number to
the new employer.
an employer electing the Group Rating option between twenty-nine (29) days
prior to the Group Rating application deadline and the last date of the initial
rating year, the sponsoring organization must electronically submit the fully
executed AC-26 and an addendum to the AC-25, for the initial policy year and
the policy year immediately following the employer’s initial policy year. The
AC-26s and AC-25 addendums must be submitted to BWC within thirty (30) days of
the date BWC assigns a risk (policy) number to the new employer.
may accept an AC-26 more than thirty (30) days after the assignment of a risk
(policy) number when the original sponsoring organization did not have a
compatible industry Group to place the employer, if the following conditions
The employer must file an AC-26 with a different sponsoring
The new sponsoring organization must electronically submit the fully
executed AC-26, and an addendum to the AC-25, to BWC.
BWC must receive the AC-26 and addendum to the AC-25 within thirty (30)
days of the date the employer was notified by the original sponsoring
organization that it did not have a compatible Group.
If the sponsoring organization or its TPA identifies that an employer involved
in a combination applied for Group Rating through a waiver under Grow Ohio, BWC
will remove that employer from the Group for that policy year.
D. Program Safety
new employer participating in Grow Ohio (receiving the twenty-five percent
(25%) discount) must complete one of the four components listed below by the
last day of the policy year subsequent to the employer’s initial policy year in
order to remain eligible for the program:
online Grow Ohio safety survey, including providing any follow-up information
that may be requested by the Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH), and
acknowledge that the introduction to DSH offerings for the employer has been
least two hours of safety training offered by DSH. Employers may
complete the course work at any BWC training location, the Ohio Safety
Congress, or online through the BWC Learning Center; or,
The Safety Management Self-Assessment (SH-26); or,
training class or seminar developed by BWC and approved by DSH for satisfying
Grow Ohio safety requirements.
employer returning to Grow Ohio from Group Rating who has not completed the
program safety requirements will have until the end of the policy year subsequent
to the employer’s initial policy year to complete the requirements. The
employer must complete the safety requirements to receive the Grow Ohio
E. Removal /
disqualification or withdrawal from program.
will immediately disqualify an employer from the Grow Ohio program, if the
employer knowingly misrepresented information on the initial application for coverage.
will not consider an employer to have knowingly misrepresented information on
the initial application for coverage if the employer’s determination on how to
report was based on:
The employer’s reasonable interpretation of law, rule, or manual
Written advice received from BWC.
shall require the disqualified employer to make restitution for all discounts
received from participation in the program.
will immediately disqualify an employer that knowingly misrepresents payroll to
BWC. BWC shall require the disqualified employer to pay back all discounts
received from participation in the program.
purposes of this policy, “Knowingly” means the employer had actual knowledge of
the misrepresentation and was aware that it would cause a certain result.
will immediately disqualify an employer from the Grow Ohio program if the
employer is removed from a Group for a gross misrepresentation on its
application for Group Rating as outlined in OAC 4123-17-62(F).
employer may voluntarily withdraw from the Grow Ohio program by notifying BWC
request must be signed by the chief executive officer or designated management
representative of the employer.
effective date of withdrawal will be the beginning date of the policy year in
which BWC receives the employer’s withdrawal request.
The withdrawal will be permanent, regardless of the employer’s program
eligibility period and completion of the required training.
will recover any discount received prior to the withdrawal date.
employer may file an appeal to the BWC Adjudicating Committee if BWC determines
that the employer is ineligible for Grow Ohio because it is:
public employer, or,
employer for which a combination or transfer of experience was indicated, or,
Essentially the same employer for which risk coverage was previously
complaints should be processed under the General
Employer Complaint Policy. BWC has not identified any specific
extenuating circumstances that apply to Grow Ohio.
PA employer’s coverage became effective on September 15, 2015. The employer wishes
to enroll in Group Rating. Can the employer apply for Group Rating for the
period September 15, 2015, to June 30, 2016? Or, is the employer only eligible
to apply for the next full policy year beginning July 1, 2016?
employer is eligible to apply for Group Rating for both the policy year that
began on July 1, 2015, and for the policy year that will begin on July 1, 2016.
PA employer applied for coverage on November 30, 2015. The employer did not
apply for Group Rating. Assuming all eligibility requirements are met, what is
the last policy year that the twenty-five percent (25%) discount will apply?
policy year beginning July 1, 2017, is the last policy year of Grow Ohio