Ohio Lawmakers Kill Strickland Health Coverage Bill

June 5, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Ohio Senate has rejected Governor Ted Strickland's proposals that the Insurance Department said would have provided access to affordable health care insurance for thousands of state residents.

A Business Insurance report said the Senate’s decision Wednesday axed the governor’s proposals in the Insurance Department budget that the agency said would have given 110,000 state residents access to private health insurance. Further, it threw out proposals changing health insurance open enrollment programs and extending state continuation of health care coverage for employees of small businesses who lose their jobs, according to the report.

Senators pulled out Strickland’s proposals to trim tthe rates insurers can charge people with pre-existing conditions from an average of $800 a month to less than $400, according to the state Insurance Department. Further, the Insurance Department said the proposals would have required employers to offer uninsured employees the opportunity to purchase coverage with pretax dollars through flexible spending plans, which it said would save up to 40% off the cost of coverage for the employees and their families.

Business Insurance said that also, Strickland’s plan would have extended the state continuation coverage from six to 12 months, allowing employees of small businesses that lose their jobs to maintain health insurance for themselves and their families at their own cost.