The Buckeye State is restricting how much insurers can charge individual health insurance buyers who have chronic health problems.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, D, imposed the rate cap by signing an executive order, according to officials at the Ohio Department of Insurance.
“The Ohio Revised Code authorizes the governor, on request of an agency, to suspend the normal rule-making procedures with respect to a specific rule when an emergency exists necessitating the immediate adoption, amendment or rescission of the rule,” Ohio department officials say. “When such a determination is made, the agency may immediately adopt, amend, or rescind a rule, but the rule is valid only for 90 days.”
The new Open Enrollment Emergency Rule executive order was filed Oct. 20, officials say.
The emergency rule affects the Ohio Open Enrollment Health Insurance Program, a program that provides health coverage for Ohio residents who have pre-existing health problems such as diabetes or cancer.
The next open enrollment period is set to start Jan. 1, 2010.
Insurers selling coverage through the program must limit the rate they charge an enrollee to “150% of the lowest rate charged to a person of similar age and gender,” Ohio department officials say.