March 23, 2020

ODI–Health Insurance Coverage Flexibility for Ohio Employees

On Friday, March 20, the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) issued a bulletin providing flexibility for Ohio employers and employees in managing health insurance program expenses and access during the COVID-19 pandemic. Per the directive, this applies to all health plan issuers, including insurance companies, stop loss, MEWAS, and other entities transacting insurance in the State of Ohio. The bulletin contains several important provisions for employers to understand.

First, all insurers doing business in the State of Ohio must provider the option of deferring premium payment for 60-days from the original premium due date. Employers are thus able to defer the payment of health insurance premiums for a period of up to two months as of March 20.

Second, insurers must waive all actively at work requirements for eligibility. This means employers are permitted to continue to cover their employees under their health insurance program even if the employee has reduced hours that would otherwise make them ineligible for coverage.

Third, for employers with 20 or more employees, COBRA continuation of coverage will remain available provided one person remains actively employed. For employers with less than 20 employees, continuation of coverage under state law will remain available provided one person remains actively employed. Should no employees remain actively employed, there will be a special enrollment period to allow individuals to enroll in new coverage through state and federal exchanges, and other individual markets, effective the day after their loss of employment.

These provisions will remain in effect until the expiration of the state of emergency declared by Governor DeWine on March 9.

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