Ohio Bill Widens Health Coverage, Offers Workers’ Comp Discounts

January 31, 2008

More Ohioans would have access to health insurance through tax credits and other incentives and the state would offer programs to promote healthiness under a wide-ranging bill introduced in the Ohio House earlier this week.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Raussen, a Cincinnati Republican, would make Bureau of Workers’ Compensation premium discounts available to eligible small businesses that don’t offer health insurance, change the eligible age of dependent coverage in family policies from 22 to 29 and define charitable care for nonprofit hospitals.

It also would provide tax credits to families with incomes below the federal poverty level,, currently $21,200 for a family of four, who are not eligible for Medicaid and ease a nursing shortage by increasing salaries for instructors.

The bill also would require the Ohio Department of Education to adopt rules governing nutrition and pricing standards for primary-secondary schools and kindergarten, offer a “wellness discount” program for employers that use doctor-directed programs and expand state prescription drug benefits.

Raussen estimated the cost of the program at $100 million to $150 million annually. He said he was looking forward to a series of hearings on the bill to get the input of the numerous entities with a stake in its outcome.

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