Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Maryland COBRA Insurance

In addition to the federal COBRA insurance coverage, the state of Maryland also offers an extended COBRA insurance plan for employees at companies with between 2-19 employees. This means that even if you do not meet the requirements for federal COBRA insurance, you may still be eligible for COBRA insurance coverage in Maryland. The state run COBRA insurance coverage is known as Conversion Coverage in Maryland. It is also important to know that under this coverage there is no limit of premiums and coverage can be limited at the insurer's discretion.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Maryland COBRA Conversion Coverage, you must have been covered by the employer group health insurance plan for at least three months before employment loss. You also can not qualify for federal COBRA insurance. As with federal COBRA laws, your beneficiaries are also eligible for COBRA insurance in Maryland. You are not eligible for Maryland Mini COBRA insurance if you are eligible for Medicare or if you qualify for another group health insurance plan.

Signing Up: To sign up for the Maryland COBRA Conversion Coverage, you must apply in writing to your group health insurance provider. You also must pay the COBRA premium in advance.

Length of Coverage: Maryland Mini COBRA insurance covers you for up to 18 months from the day your group health insurance plan stopped coverage if you were terminated without cause. If you were terminated with cause, you are eligible for up to 6 months of COBRA coverage. This applies to former employees, spouses, and dependents.

Termination: Maryland COBRA Conversion Coverage insurance can be terminated for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for termination of Maryland COBRA Conversion Coverage is failure to pay premiums, termination of the group health insurance plan by the employer.

For help electing for Maryland COBRA Conversion Coverage insurance, you may consider contacting the following state agencies.

Maryland Insurance Administration
525 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202-2272
Phone: 410.468.2000 or 1.800.492.6116 (toll free)
http://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us/

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
Washington District Office
1335 East-West Highway, Suite 200
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Elizabeth Bond - Supervisor
Tel 301.713.2000
Fax 301.713.2008
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Frequently Asked Questions

I just qualified for Medicare, can my family still receive COBRA insurance?

Yes - if you were the one who was providing the COBRA insurance policy (i.e. COBRA kicked in because you no longer were covered due to job loss/quitting and elected to continue to keep your group health insurance with COBRA). Under the COBRA insurance laws, this is known as a secondary qualifying event which will allow your family to be covered for an additional 7 months.

Can I keep COBRA insurance even if my new job offers health insurance?

Sometimes people may find a new job but still would like to stay on their previous plan with their former employer under COBRA because they prefer that plan. This is completely possible under COBRA insurance laws as long as you do not sign up for the new insurance. However, when your COBRA insurance benefits run out, you will likely want to sign up for your new employers health insurance plan or find a private plan.

Can I sign up for COBRA insurance if I quit my job?

Yes! Under COBRA insurance you can sign up for COBRA insurance if you leave your job voluntarily (i.e. quitting) or involuntarily (i.e. being laid off). You will need to complete the COBRA insurance enrollment form which should be provided by your employer.

Does COBRA insurance work in every state or only certain ones?

COBRA Insurance is a federal law, passed in 1985, which means that is works in every single state. Each and every state is required to offer continuation of health insurance with COBRA insurance as long as the employee meets the eligibility written in the law. If you do not meet the federal COBRA eligibility requirements, some states offer additional COBRA insurance plans for people at smaller companies normally known as mini-COBRA or COBRA continuation plans.

Is it hard to find a new doctor if I sign up for COBRA insurance?

Since COBRA insurance is just the law that allows you to continue to maintain your group health insurance plan, finding a doctor will be the exact same as it was on the plan you had while you were working. Remember COBRA just allows you to keep that plan. This means that you can keep all the same doctors and finding a new doctor falls under the same restrictions as it did while you were employed.

How do I apply for state sponsored COBRA insurance?

Every state has a specific application process to receive state sponsored COBRA insurance. Generally, you will need to request an election form from your employer and will have between 14-60 days to submit your form and pay the initial premium. On this form, you will have to prove that you are eligible and provide personal information for everyone you wish to remain on the plan under COBRA.

I just had a baby, can I add him/her to my COBRA insurance plan?

It all depends on the health insurance policy that you chose to continue under the COBRA insurance law. Each group health insurance company has different policies so you will want to call your insurance provider. Under most policies you will be allowed to add your baby once you give birth.

Can I drop my COBRA insurance coverage at any time?

Of course! COBRA insurance laws are meant to protect people and families while they seek out other health insurance either through an independent company or by becoming employed elsewhere. Therefore, you can drop your COBRA health insurance coverage at any time. You need to notify your group health insurance provider under COBRA when you would like the coverage to end. Make sure to check with your new employer or insurer for when the policy will become active. In many companies, there is a 90 day waiting period until COBRA insurance kicks in.

Will COBRA insurance work outside of the United States?

That all depends on the type of health insurance plan that you had with your previous employer. If the insurance company would have covered you if you moved out of the country, then they still will. However, most insurance plans only work in a select area and will not work oversees, therefore meaning COBRA insurance will not work outside of the United States. You can contact your health insurance provider to find out if you will be covered out of the country.

Where do I send my monthly COBRA insurance premiums?

Since COBRA insurance is the law that allows you to maintain your health insurance not the actual insurance, you will send the monthly premiums to your group health insurance company. This is the same one that you had when you were employed. Normally the address is located on your COBRA election form and if you can no find that, you can call your former employer or the health insurance provider.

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