Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ohio makes significant changes to its mini-COBRA law, effective April 1, 2009

More ink has been spilled about COBRA in the past two months than was written about it in total since its passage in 1985. And, the hits keep on coming. On April 1, 2009, Governor Strickland signed Sub. H.B.2, which amended Ohio’s mini-COBRA law, which makes health care continuation coverage available to employees of businesses with less than 20 employees.

Under the amended law, group health policies that are issued, delivered, or amended on or after April 2, 2009, must include the following changes:

  • Continuation coverage is extended from 6 months to 12 months.
  • Entitlement to unemployment compensation is no longer required to be eligible for continuation coverage .
  • Employees merely must be involuntarily terminated, other than for gross misconduct (mirroring the federal COBRA requirement).
  • If the group coverage includes prescription drug coverage, the continuation coverage must also include it.

Because continuation coverage has been extended to up to 12 months, Ohio employees of small businesses will now be eligible to receive the entire 9 months of federal subsidy under the federal stimulus bill. Small employers are not responsible for paying any portion of the premiums. The ex-employee will pay 35% out of pocket, and the insurance company will claim the IRS payroll tax credit for the remaining 65%.

For more information, the Ohio Department of Insurance issued detailed guidance. It has also available for download a model Continuation Coverage Election Notice.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or