The federal COBRA law and Maryland both provide for worker continuation coverage of employer-sponsored health insurance in the event of job loss or a qualified family event happens where plan beneficiaries would lose their insurance. The insurance for the terminated worker or their family members is to be the same as when they were employed. The employer-sponsored health plan should cover all hospital, medical, or other surgical procedures.
Federal COBRA mandates that businesses with 20 or more employees that work at least 50% of the the business hours offer COBRA continuation. Workers in Maryland should be aware that small businesses are also required to provide continuation coverage. There are some key differences in the Maryland continuation coverage law.
Maryland Worker’s Insurance Continuation Coverage
The most important difference between federal COBRA and 2013 Maryland Continuation Coverage Law (§15-409 of the Maryland Insurance Article) applies to workers of small businesses. When a state has separate laws similar to the federal statute, they are known as Mini-COBRA laws. Maryland statutes states that all former employees are offered continuation of their group health plan that they had while employed, even with 19 or fewer workers. When the qualifying event is family related (death, divorce or loss of dependent status), Maryland allows these individuals the right to continue the group health plan.
Differences Between Maryland Continuation Coverage and Federal COBRA
- Applies to businesses with less than 20 employees
- If the employer plan is “self-funded or or “self-insured”, only federal COBRA will cover
- In Maryland, you must have been employed for a minimum of 3 months
- Must be a spouse for 30 days of the insured workers employment to have Maryland Continuation Coverage
- In the event of the death of insured employee, widowed spouses may have 18 months under Maryland Continuation
- Maryland Continuation Coverage requires employers send notice of election within 14 days of the insurance ending
- Employees using Maryland law have 45 days to elect continuation coverage