The Ohio Department of Insurance has issued a series of bulletins in the past month intended to provide relief from the financial strains on policyholders created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article is intended to highlight and summarize these sweeping changes to Ohio’s insurance laws.
As always, we encourage you to contact our office if you have any questions about this publication or if you need any legal services or advice on solutions to issues that may impact your business, your customers, or your employees.
BULLETIN 2020-07 – 60-DAY GRACE PERIOD TO PAY CERTAIN INSURANCE PREMIUMS
This bulletin applies to all property and casualty, life, and long-term care insurance policy providers who transact business within the State of Ohio.
These providers are required to provide their insureds with a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums, at no cost. Insurers are also required to provide at least a 60-day grace period for policies that contain provisions that impose a duty or obligation on an insured to act, such as submitting forms or information in support of their claim. At the latest, the grace period will end when the Governor declares the State of Emergency is over.
Bulletin 2020-07, which was issued March 30, 2020, can be accessed here.
BULLETIN 2020-06 – COVERAGE WON’T BE CANCELED IF LICENSE EXPIRES
If you have been unable to renew your driver’s license because of the closure of BMVs throughout Ohio, your auto insurer has been ordered to temporarily suspend any existing practice of canceling, non-renewing, or refusing to issue a policy solely because the insured’s driver’s license has expired. Also, insurers are prohibited from adjusting their premium rates due to an insured’s inability to renew their license. This waiver will expire 30 days after the Governor declares the State of Emergency is over.
Bulletin 2020-06, which was issued March 24, 2020, can be accessed here.
BULLETIN 2020-03 – MEDICAL COVERAGE MAY CONTINUE IF HOURS REDUCED & PREMIUM PAYMENTS MAY BE DELAYED
Health plan issuers, insurance companies, stop loss insurers, health insuring corporations, and other entities offering medical care insurance in Ohio have been ordered to: 1) allow employers to continue covering employees under the employer’s group policies even if the employee would ordinarily no longer be eligible due to a reduction in hours; 2) offer employers the option to defer premium payments, interest free, for 60 calendar days from each premium due date; and 3) allow employers with more than 20 employees to continue to offer COBRA to eligible employees provided at least 1 person remains actively employed.
Further, employees who lose coverage are eligible to participate in a special enrollment period allowing them to obtain coverage the day after their loss of employment. This should prevent any gaps in coverage.
Bulletin 2020-03, which was issued March 20, 2020, can be accessed here.
BULLETIN 2020-02 – CLARIFYING SICKNESS & ACCIDENT AND TRAVEL INSURANCE
Companies which issue sickness and accident insurance and/or travel insurance within the State of Ohio must cover sickness, accident, disability, or death as a result of COVID-19 occurring while an insured is traveling, unless a specific exclusion applies. Many of these polices include benefits when a heath related condition leads to a cancellation or interruption of a trip and some provide emergency transportation, including costs associated with returning to the U.S., for further treatment.
This Bulletin reminded health insurers that: 1) emergency care must be covered without preauthorization; 2) out-of-network emergency services must be provided without balance billing; and 3) insureds must be provided an internal appeal process for claim denials and the right to seek an external review.
Bulletin 2020-02, which became effective March 11, 2020, can be accessed here.