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

Are my COBRA insurance premium payments tax deductible?

It all depends on your health insurance plan and your current income and taxes. Unfortunately there is no simple answer here. The easiest way to find out if your health insurance premiums under COBRA is to contact your health insurance administrator or reach out to the IRS or a specialized tax agent.

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.

Can I sign up for COBRA Insurance if I retire?

Yes - under the COBRA insurance law, retiring from your job is considered a qualifying event which means you can elect to continue to keep your group health insurance plan with COBRA insurance. Make sure to get the COBRA enrollment form from your employer, complete it on time, and submit it on time with the premium that is due.

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.

Does COBRA insurance qualify as creditable coverage?

Yes - electing to continue your health insurance coverage with COBRA insurance, will qualify as creditable coverage (under the HIPAA) law. Creditable coverage helps ensure that you are not excluded from a health insurance policy in the future due to a preexisting condition.

What other options do I have if I don't qualify or want state sponsored COBRA insurance?

There are many other options for health insurance, many of which are less expensive than typical COBRA plans: Alternatives to COBRA.

Is there a grace period before they cancel COBRA insurance if I can't pay?

With most health insurance plans, there is a 30 day grace period, within which you need to pay your COBRA health insurance premium. If you fail to pay the premium within this window it is likely that your COBRA insurance will be cancelled and you will not be able to sign back up.

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 my employer deny COBRA insurance benefits?

If you qualify for COBRA insurance under the federal eligibility requirements and have not left your job due to gross misconduct, then your employer can not deny you COBRA insurance benefits. If you think you are unfairly being denied COBRA insurance benefits by your employer you should reach out to the Department of Labor.

What is state sponsored COBRA insurance?

State sponsored COBRA generally looks identical to the federal COBRA insurance coverage but applies to more people than the federal law. It allows someone to extend their group health insurance coverage after losing their job for a specified period of time. This time period varies from state to state. Also, the cost varies from state to state.

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