The Board of Directors of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, on Sept. 27, 2007, unanimously approved a resolution calling for a reduction in the discount available to group rated employers beginning July 1, 2008. The maximum discount currently available to group rated employers is 90 percent. The resolution, which was not published in hard copy, provides that the maximum discount for group rating participants beginning July 1, 2008, would be no lower than 80 percent. This proposed reduction has resulted from a study which determined that group rating participants are not paying enough to cover the cost of covering injured workers and that employers, who are not participants in the group rating program, are paying an unfair share of the premium burden. Another factor behind the Bureau’s study and ultimate proposed reduction of group rating discounts is that many complaints have been lodged from employers removed from groups that realize a tremendous increase in premiums, sometimes by a factor of six or more.
BWC Administrator Ryan has indicated that group rating participants will pay more as a result of the reduction of the maximum discount. However, she also indicated that base rates are expected to fall 4 to 5 percent. The Bureau also indicated that current Ohio small businesses in the group rating program would be paying increased premiums amounting to $75,000,000.
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, while trying to level the playing field for all employers, has created a burden for employers, who for a significant period of time beginning in the early 1990’s, have enjoyed considerable discounts through participation in the group rating program.
The final decision with respect to group rating discounts has not been made. However, it is clear that the maximum discounts will be reduced and the groups which receive lesser discounts at this time will be reduced accordingly.