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Buckeye State Lawmakers Weigh In On Discount Programs

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Members of the Ohio House have voted 89-0 to pass S.B. 5, a bill that would give health insurers in the state more flexibility and impose new rules on health discount program organizers.

The state Senate already has passed the bill, which was introduced by state Sen. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, Ohio.

One major section of the bill would set requirements for discount medical plans.

The bill would exclude health insurers and pure prescription drug discount programs from the definition of “discount medical plan.”

The bill would require a discount medical plan provider to have a signed, written agreement with each provider and to set minimum marketing standards.

The bill also would give the Ohio insurance superintendent explicit authority to examine and investigate discount plans and fine them when violations of the law crop up.

Another section of the bill would let a seller of state-regulated group health insurance charge rates up to 40% higher or lower than the product midpoint level, up from 35% higher or lower today. The carriers also could offer a 5% discount for particularly healthy groups of insureds.

Still another provision would increase the size of employers permitted to buy coverage through state association health plans to 500 employees, up from 150.


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