Ohio Gov., John Kasich, has signed legislation that would allow businesses to charge employees for HIV testing.
The legislation, which passed the state House and Senate on Wednesday, would also allow employers, including health care companies, to charge workers for HIV-related tests without a legitimate excuse.
Under the new bill, the testing costs would be determined by the state, with employees who have tested positive being reimbursed up to $5,000.
The bill also includes a provision to require employees to receive written counseling before they are required to have HIV testing, and to pay up to 20 percent of the cost of HIV testing to cover the cost.
The proposal comes after more than 30,000 Ohioans died of the virus over the past two years, and after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year announced that it had detected 1,000 cases of HIV among gay men in Ohio, prompting state lawmakers to push for more testing.
But it’s unclear how many of those infections could have been prevented had Ohio not passed the bill.
“This legislation makes a significant contribution to our state’s efforts to protect Ohioans against the coronavirus and pandemic,” Kasich said in a statement.
“Ohioans are the most vulnerable in the nation and we need to protect them by ensuring our workplace health and safety systems are adequate, effective, and timely.”
The governor also announced that he will propose a $100 million funding boost for Medicaid programs that cover the uninsured, as well as additional funds to help businesses that have lost employees to the virus.