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.

Should I sign up for COBRA insurance if I only need insurance for a month?

As long as your new insurance will kick in within the 60 day window you have to elect to sign up for COBRA insurance, there is no need to sign up for COBRA insurance. The reason for this is that you elect to sign to sign up for COBRA insurance on the 60th day, your health insurance will be retroactive until the last day of your employment. That means that if for any reason you got sick or needed medical attention during the 60 days, you could then just pay the premium and be covered for those expenses. If you don't end up needing medical attention in those 60 days then you didn't waste the money paying for the two months of premiums. Essentially, you would actually never be without coverage, since you can activate it at any time within the 6o days and cover the full term.

Your other option would be to sign up for a short term health insurance plan, which can be anyway from 1 day to 1 year, at a much cheaper rate than COBRA. This would cover you for any major medical costs.

Can I keep the same health insurance plan with COBRA insurance?

That is exactly what COBRA insurance is for. COBRA insurance actually refers to the law that was passed in 1985 and not to a specific type of insurance. The law allows you to keep your current health insurance plan as long as you meet federal requirements which means that yes, you can and will keep the exact same health insurance plan.

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.

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.

Can I cancel my COBRA insurance?

Of course! COBRA insurance is meant to be an interim way to keep health insurance after you lose or quit your job. Once you have found a new job with health insurance or decide to sign up for an alternative health insurance plan, you can cancel your COBRA insurance policy at any time by contacting your COBRA insurance administrator.

Can I get COBRA insurance if I am not a U.S. citizen?

If your worked for a U.S. company that provides health insurance and you meet the federal requirement for COBRA insurance eligibility than you can be covered whether you are a U.S. citizen or not. Make sure to get the COBRA insurance election form from your employer and submit it on time and you should be covered along with your dependents and/or spouse.

Are my children covered under COBRA insurance laws?

If your children were covered under your previous health insurance policy and you qualify for COBRA insurance so you can continue to receive your group health insurance, then your children will be covered as well in almost all cases. You can check by looking at your COBRA insurance election form or contacting your health insurance administrator.

Am I eligible for COBRA insurance if my company has under 20 employees?

Unfortunately you are not eligible for COBRA insurance under the federal law if your company has less than 20 employees. However, many states have created extended COBRA insurance benefit laws that apply to people who work for companies with between 2-19 employees. Learn more about COBRA continuation state policies.

Where can I find a list of doctors for COBRA insurance?

Since COBRA insurance is actually legislation that allows you to choose to continue receiving your previous group health insurance plan, there will not be a list of doctors that take COBRA insurance, but instead the same doctors that were covered under your previous health insurance plan will still be covered. If you need a list of those doctors, you should contact your health insurance plan administrator.

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