Monday, April 27, 2009


[Please scroll down for important update. HGS]
The good news is that we continue to see clarifications regarding how this massive new entitlement will be implemented. The bad news is that we continue to receive clarifications regarding how this massive new entitlement will be implemented.
Case in point: Ohio's "mini-COBRA" law.
Until a few weeks ago, the threshold for whether or not one would qualify under Ohio's (existing) insurance continuation law was simple: if you qualified for unemployment compensation and had been previously covered for 3 months, you're golden. The main sticking point was always that "eligible for unemployment" wording: the only way for one to know for certain was to apply and await a decision. If you passed, you were entitled to stay on the previous plan for up to 6 months (albeit completely on your own dime).
That's all changed now. The new regs, signed into law on April 1 (how appropriate), lift that key qualifier. Now, that threshold is simply that one has been involuntarily terminated (except for "gross misconduct"), and the continuation has been extended to 12 months (to more closely align with "regular" COBRA/ARRA).
And, of course, the insurer is responsible for forwarding the 65% subsidy. Contrary to popular belief, by the way, the insurer isn't really "paying" anything; they're simply rerouting dollars, which they'll recoup quickly enough at the next renewal. Something about a "free lunch."
We all caught up yet?
ADDENDUM/UPDATE (4-28-09): FoIB Don Deaton points out that since the new law was signed (and took effect) on April first, employees of groups that haven't renewed "until (April 2, 2009) will still only get 6 months of continuation, and ... will still have to be eligible for unemployment to get the coverage at all." The law specifically states that "policies issued, delivered or renewed after April 1, 2009, must include" the new language.
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