Montana Code Annotated 2014

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     39-71-1050. Assessment for stay-at-work/return-to-work assistance fund -- definition. (1) (a) The assistance fund must be maintained by assessing employers insured by plan No. 1, plan No. 2, and plan No. 3 an amount as provided in subsections (2) through (10).
     (b) The board of investments shall invest the money in the assistance fund. The investment income must be deposited in the assistance fund.
     (2) The assessment amount is the total amount paid by the assistance fund in the preceding fiscal year less other realized income that is deposited in the assistance fund. Allocation of the total assessment amount among employers insured by plan No. 1, plan No. 2, and plan No. 3 must be based on each plan's proportionate share of money expended from the assistance fund for the calendar year preceding the year in which the assessment is collected.
     (3) On or before May 31 of each year, the department shall notify each plan No. 1 employer, plan No. 2 insurer, and plan No. 3, the state fund, of the amount to be assessed for the ensuing fiscal year. On or before April 30 of each year, the department shall consult with the advisory organization designated under 33-16-1023 and notify plan No. 2 insurers and plan No. 3, the state fund, of the premium surcharge rate to be effective for policies written or renewed on or after July 1 in that year.
     (4) The portion of the plan No. 1 assessment assessed against an individual plan No. 1 employer is the amount actually expended by the assistance fund on behalf of injured workers employed by that plan No. 1 employer. A group of employers insured jointly under plan No. 1 is considered to be an individual employer for the purposes of this subsection.
     (5) After subtracting plan No. 1 assessments from the total assessment, the department shall determine the surcharge rate for plan No. 2 insurers and plan No. 3, the state fund, by dividing the remaining portion of the assessment by the total amount of premiums paid by employers insured under plan No. 2 or plan No. 3 in the previous calendar year. The numerator for the calculation must be adjusted as provided in subsection (9).
     (6) Employers insured under plan No. 2 or plan No. 3 shall pay their portion of the assessment in a surcharge on premiums for policies written or renewed annually on or after July 1.
     (7) (a) Each plan No. 2 insurer and plan No. 3, the state fund, shall collect from its policyholders the assessment premium surcharge provided for in subsection (5). When collected, the assessment premium surcharge may not constitute an element of loss for the purpose of establishing rates for workers' compensation insurance but, for the purpose of collection, must be treated as separate costs imposed upon insured employers. The total of this assessment premium surcharge must be stated as a separate cost on an insured employer's policy or on a separate document submitted by the insured employer and must be identified as "workers' compensation stay-at-work/return-to-work assistance fund surcharge". Each assessment premium surcharge must be shown as a percentage of the total workers' compensation policyholder premium. This assessment premium surcharge must be collected at the same time and in the same manner as the premium for the coverage. The assessment premium surcharge must be excluded from the definition of premium for all purposes, including computation of insurance producers' commissions or premium taxes, except that an insurer may cancel a workers' compensation policy for nonpayment of the assessment premium surcharge. Cancellation must be in accordance with the procedures applicable to the nonpayment of premium.
     (b) If an employer fails to remit to an insurer the total amount due for the premium and assessment premium surcharge, the amount received by the insurer must be applied to the assessment premium surcharge described in 39-71-201 first, then to the assessment premium surcharge in this section, and then to the surcharge in 39-71-915, with any remaining amount applied to the premium due.
     (8) (a) The department shall deposit all assessments due under this section into the assistance fund.
     (b) Each plan No. 1 employer shall pay its assessment due under this section by July 1.
     (c) Each plan No. 2 insurer and plan No. 3, the state fund, shall remit to the department all assessment premium surcharges collected during a calendar quarter no later than 20 days following the end of the quarter.
     (d) If a plan No. 1 employer, a plan No. 2 insurer, or plan No. 3, the state fund, fails to timely pay to the department the assessment or assessment premium surcharge under this section, the department may impose on the plan No. 1 employer, the plan No. 2 insurer, or plan No. 3, the state fund, an administrative fine of $100 plus interest on the delinquent amount at the annual interest rate of 12%. Administrative fines and interest must be deposited in the assistance fund.
     (9) Each year, the department shall compare the amount of the assessment premium surcharge actually collected pursuant to subsection (5) with the amount assessed and upon which the premium surcharge was calculated. The amount undercollected or overcollected in any given year must be used as an adjustment to the numerator for the following year's assessment premium surcharge as provided in subsection (5).
     (10) If the total assessment is less than $100,000 for any year, the department may defer the assessment for that year and add that amount to the assessment amount for the subsequent year.
     (11) As used in this section, "money expended" means expenditures for stay-at-work/return-to-work assistance from the assistance fund.

     History: En. Sec. 20, Ch. 167, L. 2011.

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