Small employers providing health care benefits to employees residing in Ohio need to take note of changes in Ohio’s continuation coverage law, sometimes referred to as “mini-COBRA.”

The trigger for this law change was the COBRA premium subsidy provision included in the recent federal economic stimulus bill, which we have discussed in a series of prior posts and a recent webinar. But the changes in the Ohio mini-COBRA law extend beyond the premium subsidy issue, and continuation coverage will now be now be available to more individuals, as follows:

  • Coverage has been extended from 6 months to 12 months
  • Entitlement to unemployment compensation is no longer required
  • Employees must be involuntarily terminated, other than for gross misconduct
  • Continuation coverage must include prescription drug coverage if it is included in the group coverage.

The Ohio Department of Insurance has issued revised guidance regarding the law change and how the premium subsidy works for small employers. Included in the guidance is a timely reminder to employers that they are required to notify employees of their right to continue coverage at the time they notify the employee of termination of employment. Employers must also notify an insurer if an employee elects continuation of coverage under Ohio’s mini-COBRA law. The Ohio Department of Insurance guidance contains a number of links to other resources, for those who need more information.