124.82 Health insurance benefits.

(A) Except as provided in division (D) of this section, the department of administrative services, in consultation with the superintendent of insurance, shall, in accordance with competitive selection procedures of Chapter 125. of the Revised Code, contract with an insurance company or a health plan in combination with an insurance company, authorized to do business in this state, for the issuance of a policy or contract of health, medical, hospital, dental, or surgical benefits, or any combination of those benefits, covering state employees who are paid directly by warrant of the director of budget and management, including elected state officials. The department may fulfill its obligation under this division by exercising its authority under division (A)(2) of section 124.81 of the Revised Code.

(B) The department may, in addition, in consultation with the superintendent of insurance, negotiate and contract with health insuring corporations holding a certificate of authority under Chapter 1751. of the Revised Code, in their approved service areas only, for issuance of a contract or contracts of health care services, covering state employees who are paid directly by warrant of the director of budget and management, including elected state officials. The department may enter into contracts with one or more insurance carriers or health plans to provide the same plan of benefits, provided that:

(1) The amount of the premium or cost for such coverage contributed by the state, for an individual or for an individual and the individual's family, does not exceed that same amount of the premium or cost contributed by the state under division (A) of this section;

(2) The employee be permitted to exercise the option as to which plan the employee will select under division (A) or (B) of this section, at a time that shall be determined by the department;

(3) The health insuring corporations do not refuse to accept the employee, or the employee and the employee's family, if the employee exercises the option to select care provided by the corporations;

(4) The employee may choose participation in only one of the plans sponsored by the department;

(5) The director of health examines and certifies to the department that the quality and adequacy of care rendered by the health insuring corporations meet at least the standards of care provided by hospitals and physicians in that employee's community, who would be providing such care as would be covered by a contract awarded under division (A) of this section.

(C) All or any portion of the cost, premium, or charge for the coverage in divisions (A) and (B) of this section may be paid in such manner or combination of manners as the department determines and may include the proration of health care costs, premiums, or charges for part-time employees.

(D) Notwithstanding division (A) of this section, the department may provide benefits equivalent to those that may be paid under a policy or contract issued by an insurance company or a health plan pursuant to division (A) of this section.

(E) This section does not prohibit the state office of collective bargaining from entering into an agreement with an employee representative for the purposes of providing fringe benefits, including, but not limited to, hospitalization, surgical care, major medical care, disability, dental care, vision care, medical care, hearing aids, prescription drugs, group life insurance, sickness and accident insurance, group legal services or other benefits, or any combination of those benefits, to employees paid directly by warrant of the director of budget and management through a jointly administered trust fund. The employer's contribution for the cost of the benefit care shall be mutually agreed to in the collectively bargained agreement. The amount, type, and structure of fringe benefits provided under this division is subject to the determination of the board of trustees of the jointly administered trust fund. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Revised Code, competitive bidding does not apply to the purchase of fringe benefits for employees under this division when those benefits are provided through a jointly administered trust fund.

(F) Members of state boards or commissions may be covered by any policy, contract, or plan of benefits or services described in division (A) or (B) of this section. Board or commission members who are appointed for a fixed term and who are compensated on a per meeting basis, or paid only for expenses, or receive a combination of per diem payments and expenses shall pay the entire amount of the premiums, costs, or charges for that coverage.

Effective Date: 03-14-2003; 06-30-2006

Note: The amendment to this section by 129th General AssemblyFile No.10, SB 5, §1 was rejected by voters in the November, 2011 election.