On Thursday August 25, 2011, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) unveiled a plan called Grow Ohio that could discount a new Ohio employer’s premium by as much as 51 percent. Grow Ohio would offer eligible employers a 25 percent discount on their workers’ compensation premiums for two years or provide immediate access to participation in the Group Experience Rating Program.

The rationale behind this initiative is to create additional opportunities to stimulate economic development in Ohio and further reduce one of the initial upfront costs that starting a business or moving a new business to the state would encounter. Under the proposed Grow Ohio plan, new employers would get a 25 percent rate reduction for four subsequent six-month periods after the payroll period in which coverage becomes effective.

The other option for new employers is to immediately participate in the Group Experience Rating Program, which normally is not accessible to new Ohio employers until the first full policy year following the date they obtain workers’ compensation coverage. Currently, the maximum discounts in this program for the policy year starting July 1, 2011 is 51 percent. If approved, employers would have 30 days to decide whether to pursue the Group Rating option, or the 25 percent discount will automatically be applied. Those incentives would be reflected on bills employers pay beginning in February 2012.

The BWC's proposed Grow Ohio economic development initiative is subject to approval by the BWC Board of Directors at its September 29, 2011 meeting.