Ohio's Mini-COBRA Law

August 6, 2014 by Paul L. Bittner, Partner
Ice Miller can help you implement creative, innovative solutions to attract and retain key employees, while avoiding legal pitfalls. Learn more in our 2014 Labor Law Guides. An excerpt follows: 
 
While Ohio employers with less than 20 employees are not subject to the Federal COBRA law, they are subject to Ohio’s own health care continuation coverage law, often referred to as Ohio’s mini-COBRA law.
 
Ohio’s mini-COBRA law applies to employers with at least two, but less than 20, employees that sponsor a group health plan that either is insured through a group policy, issued or renewed in Ohio, or is self- insured and provides benefits to Ohio residents.
 
To qualify for Ohio’s mini-COBRA coverage, an employee must satisfy the following requirements:

• Have been continuously under a group contract or under the contract and any prior similar group coverage replaced by the contract, during the entire three month period preceding the termination of the employee’s employment
• The employee’s employment was involuntarily terminated but not as a result of the employee’s gross misconduct
• The employee is not and does not become covered by or eligible for Medicare
• The employee is not and does not become covered by or eligible for other group coverage
 
The employer must provide terminated employees with a notice of their right to continue coverage. Such notice must specify the amount of the entire premium due, the day of the month on which the first premium amount is due and when any further payments are due. The notice must also state that the amount of payment required shall not exceed the group rate for the insurance being continued under the policy.
 
To elect coverage, the employee must file a written election with the employer and pay the first contribution.

The election must be made either:

• Thirty-one days after the date on which the employee’s coverage would otherwise terminate
• Ten days after the date on which the employee’s coverage would otherwise terminate, if the employer has notified the employee of the right of continuation prior to such date
• Ten days after the employer notifies the employee of the right of continuation, if the notice is given after the date on which the employee’s coverage would otherwise terminate.

If an employee elects continuation coverage in writing and pays the required contributions on time, the continuation coverage may last for 12 months after the date that the insurance coverage would otherwise terminate by reason of the termination of the employee’s employment. This continuation coverage may also end if: (i) the employee becomes covered by or eligible for Medicare; (ii) the employee becomes covered by or eligible for coverage by any other insured or uninsured arrangement that provides hospital, surgical, or medical coverage for individuals in a group; (iii) the employee fails to make timely payments for the continuation coverage; or (iv) the policy is terminated, or the employer terminates participation under the policy, unless the employer replaces the coverage by similar coverage under another group policy or other group health arrangement.
 
 



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