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Maryland Health InsuranceIndividuals and Families

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Questions about Continuation of Maryland Health Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

Continuation of Benefits

I'm Leaving My Job. How Do I Keep My Health Insurance?

Option 1:
If you are married, and your spouse has health coverage available at work, you and your family may be able to enroll in your spouse's plan. You must enroll within 30 days of voluntary termination of your employment. You may be able to do this even if it is not open enrollment. In the event of involuntary termination, you have six months to enroll. Check with your spouse's human resources department for the specific rules.

Option 2:
If you are enrolled in your employer's group plan, you may be able to continue your existing coverage under COBRA, which is a federal law. COBRA only applies to employers with 20 or more employees. Additional information about COBRA is available at www.dol.gov.

Option 3:
You may be able to continue your group coverage under Maryland Continuation Coverage laws. These laws apply to employers of any size, including those with 20 or fewer employees, if the group policy is a Maryland contract and is not self-funded. Check with your human resources department to find out if your policy was issued and delivered in another state or is self-funded.

Under Maryland law, you are eligible for continuation coverage if:

  • You quit your job voluntarily, or you are involuntarily terminated, but not for cause.
  • You were covered under the group health plan for at least 3 months before termination.
  • You are a resident of Maryland.

You must notify your employer as soon as possible if you want to continue coverage. Your employer is required by law to supply you with an election notification form within 14 days of your request. You must complete, sign, and return this form to your employer within 45 days of your termination.

Option 4:
You may also be able to obtain an individual conversion policy without regard to your health status. This policy may not include all of the benefits you had under your group policy, and may be more expensive than group coverage.

You should carefully read your certificate of coverage to learn more about continuation options. There are some important differences between Maryland law and COBRA.

I Just Got Divorced. May I Stay On My Ex-Spouse's Insurance Policy?

If you were covered as a spouse under an employer group health benefit plan, you may be able to remain in the employer's group health plan. Most people have heard of the federal law called COBRA, which allows people who get divorced to continue their health insurance coverage under their ex-spouse's employer group plan. COBRA only applies to employers with 20 or more employees. Maryland also has laws that require continuation of group coverage. These laws apply to employers of any size, including those with 20 or fewer employees, provided that the group policy is issued in Maryland and is not self-funded by the employer. Your employer's human resources department can tell you if the group policy is self-funded or was issued and delivered in another state. You should carefully read your certificate of coverage to learn more about continuation options. There are some important differences between Maryland law and COBRA.

To be eligible to continue coverage under Maryland law, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your spouse must be a resident of Maryland.
  • Your spouse must be covered under a policy issued to an employer in Maryland.
  • For the thirty days immediately preceding the divorce, you were covered as a spouse under the employer's group policy.

A dependent child of the insured is also eligible to continue coverage.

Your continuation coverage will be the same coverage available to other spouses covered under the group policy. You will need to pay the premium, including the portion usually paid by the employer for spouses. You and your spouse may agree on how to divide the premium payment between you, or it may be specified in a court order. There is no administrative fee under Maryland law, although there may be if you continue coverage under COBRA. You should carefully review your certificate of coverage for a detailed explanation of the continuation coverage available.

Maryland's continuation coverage for divorced spouses does not end after a specific time period. It does end when you become eligible for a group health benefit plan or Medicare, or become covered under an individual health policy. It will also end when you decide to remarry or decide to drop the coverage. If you have questions, ask your human resources department, or call the Maryland Insurance Administration at 800-492-6116.

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