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Maryland COBRA Insurance

Maryland COBRA Insurance

COBRA insurance is an important lifeline for many people who need health insurance and have just experienced job loss. In fact, it was created for just that reason in 1986 to help people after they lost, quit, or retired from their jobs so they wouldn't suddenly find themselves and their families without health insurance. Under COBRA insurance laws, which were part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, individuals and their families have the option to continue to keep the exact same health insurance plan they had while they were employed if they meet certain requirements.

Unfortunately for many people one of those requirements, known as qualifying plan, required the plan that the employee was covered on to have at least 20 employees on it. This eliminated the COBRA option for thousands working in Maryland at small businesses. To remedy this situation, the state created their own Maryland Mini COBRA insurance that extends coverage to people working at companies with between 2-19 employees given they meet the other COBRA requirements.

Signing Up For Maryland Mini COBRA

To sign up for Maryland COBRA coverage, you must request in writing to the insurance company of your previous employer that you would like to enroll. In many cases you will be given an election form, but in some cases you will need to request it. Along with the written request you will also need to submit a premium payment.

What Does Maryland COBRA Insurance Cover?

COBRA Insurance in Maryland will cover the exact same things that your health insurance plan covered, while you were working. Everything stays the same including doctors, networks, copays, and deductibles. Essentially with COBRA you are simply extending the coverage you had to give you time to find an alternative plan.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for MD COBRA?

The eligibility criteria for MD COBRA are very similar to the federal law. First and foremost, you cannot qualify for federal COBRA, Medicare, or another health insurance plan with a new employer. Secondly, you must have a qualifying plan - this plan must still be active, cover at least 2 employees, and you must have been on it while employed for at least 3 months. The third requirement is the qualifying event or why you need COBRA insurance from losing your health insurance. If you (or the employee who sponsors your plan) lost, quit, or retired from their job with major wrongdoing then you meet this requirement. Finally, the last requirement concerns who is able to use COBRA and you must be the covered employee, spouse, or dependent to qualify.

How Long Does Maryland Mini COBRA Last?

Maryland COBRA has two different term lengths depending on how you lost your job. If you were laid off, quit, or retired you are eligible for 18 months of coverage in most causes. However if you were fired or let go with "just cause" you only can receive 6 months of COBRA coverage.

What Other Health Insurance Plans Should I Explore?

There are two other health insurance plans that you should always explore when considering COBRA to see if you can save money and find the right plan for you. Most healthy people find they can easily find another plan that meets their needs and save over 65% on their premiums.

  • Private Insurance Plans: These plans are offered through private companies and offer a wide variety of coverage plans and pricing including comprehensive plans that would mimic employer sponsored health insurance to catastrophic plans that are very affordable and only cover emergencies. Get a free quote below to learn what options you have for private health plans.
  • Government Insurance Plans: If you meet certain income requirements, you may also consider government sponsored health insurance plans that are available for people with living at or near the poverty line. This plans offer free and reduced cost care.
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Maryland Frequently Asked Questions

My wife provides our health insurance and just became eligible for Medicare; can I use Maryland COBRA insurance?

Most likely. Depending on what type of health insurance plan your wife was on, you will likely be eligible for either COBRA at the federal level or COBRA in Maryland. If the health insurance plan covered more than 20 employees then you will qualify for federal COBRA. If the plan had less than 20 employees, then you are eligible for Maryland coverage. Normally this coverage can be used for up to 3 years.

How is Maryland COBRA different than the federal COBRA plan?

The major difference between COBRA in Maryland and the national COBRA plan is that the Maryland plan is specifically for people who work at smaller companies. Additionally although both COBRA options usually last 18 months, Maryland COBRA only lasts for 6 months if the employee was fired for just cause.

Will I be able to use the same doctors when I am on Maryland COBRA?

Yes. Under COBRA you are simply continuing the plant that you had so everything about the plan, including your doctors, will stay exactly the same. Additionally your hospital coverage and prescription plan will stay the same.

Is my life insurance plan a part of Maryland COBRA coverage?

Sadly life insurance is not included in the COBRA insurance laws in Maryland and you are not able to continue your life insurance. You will have to reach out to your life insurance provider to find out the cost of continuing the plan on your own or look for a private policy.

Can my children also use Maryland COBRA continuation?

If you qualify for Maryland COBRA coverage than your children will also be able to use the program for health insurance. They are considered qualifying beneficiaries within the text of the law.