(A) The administrator shall offer a plan that groups employers for rating purposes. Employers shall retain their separate risk identity, but shall be pooled and grouped for rating purposes only, specifically with respect to experience rating.
(B) In establishing a group for group rating purposes, the sponsoring group organization or individual employers in the group must satisfy all of the following requirements and must meet all the sponsorship rules as provided in rule 4123-17-61.1 of the Administrative Code:
(1) All of the employers within the group must be governing members of the sponsoring organization or the affiliate organization.
(2) The employers' business in the organization must be substantially similar such that the risks which are grouped are substantially homogeneous. A group shall be considered substantially homogeneous if the main operating manuals of the risks as determined by the premium obligations for the rating year beginning two years prior to the coverage period are assigned to the same or similar industry groups. Industry groups are determined by appendix B to rule 4123-17-05 of the Administrative Code. Industry groups seven and nine as well as eight and nine are considered similar.
The bureau may allow an employer to move to a more homogeneous group when, after December thirty-first for private employer groups and June thirtieth for pubic employer taxing district groups but before the application deadline for group rating, the employer:
(a) Is an employer without a full year of recorded premium;
(b) Is reclassified as a result of an audit; or
(c) Fully or partially combines with another employer.
(3) The group of employers must consist of at least one hundred individual risk members or a group where the aggregate workers' compensation premiums of the members are, as determined by the administrator, expected to exceed one hundred fifty thousand dollars during the coverage period. For public employer taxing districts, the coverage period shall be January first through December thirty-first of a year. For private employers, the coverage period shall be July first through June thirtieth of the following year.
(4) Each employer seeking to enroll in a group for workers' compensation coverage must have active workers' compensation coverage according to the following standards:
(a) Unless the employer submits prior to the application deadline a dispute of the obligation to the bureau's adjudicating committee by a written letter containing the detailed reasons for the objection and the supporting documentation, the employer must be current (not more than forty-five days past due) on any and all premiums, administrative costs, assessments, fines or monies otherwise due to any fund administered by the Ohio bureau of workers' compensation, including amounts due for retrospective rating, at the time of the application deadline date as defined in paragraph (B) of rule 4123-17-62 of the Administrative Code;
(b) As of the deadline for the application for group rating, the employer must be current on the payment schedule of any part-pay agreement into which it has entered for payment of premiums or assessment obligations;
(c) The employer cannot have cumulative lapses in workers' compensation coverage in excess of fifty-nine days within the eighteen months preceding the application deadline date for group rating. Beginning January 1, 2010, for public employer taxing district groups and July 1, 2010, for private employer groups, the employer cannot have cumulative lapses in workers' compensation coverage in excess of forty days within the twelve months preceding the application deadline date for group rating. However, the cumulative lapse period under this section that was used to disqualify an employer from participating in a group rating plan the previous year will not be used to disqualify the employer in future years;
(d) An employer whose coverage status becomes cancelled or combined during the rating year may not participate in group rating. The effective date of the removal from the group rating program shall be on the first day of the next payroll reporting period (January first or July first) or in cases where the date of cancellation or combination is determined to be January first or July first, the employer shall be removed from group as of the actual date of cancellation or combination. An employer who becomes active and obtains coverage after the group rating application deadline may not participate in group rating for that year except as defined in rule 4123-17-66 of the Administrative Code.
(C) In providing employer group plans under section 4123.29 of the Revised Code, the bureau shall consider an employer group as a single employing entity for purposes of group rating. No employer may be a member of more than one group for the purpose of obtaining workers' compensation coverage. Applying for more than one group on a valid application for group rating will result in rejection of the employer from all groups for which the employer applied.