Frequently Asked Questions
What health benefit plans does the County offer?
The County offers two HMOs and one Point-of-Service Plan. Currently the HMO providers are Kaiser Permanente and CIGNA Healthcare. The Point-of-Service Plan is administered by CIGNA Healthcare. Other health benefit plans offered include Vision, Prescription, Dental, Flexible Spending Accounts, Extra Life insurance, Long-Term Disability and voluntary benefits to include Short-Term Disability, Critical Illness, Accident Insurance, Permanent Whole life insurance and Group Legal insurance plan.
What is the employee’s cost for these health benefits?
The cost varies depending upon the level of coverage the employee elects. For more information concerning the health benefit costs, refer to the current year Open Enrollment Guide or contact the Benefits Administration Division on (301) 883-6380.
Is there a waiting period before coverage begins? What happens when I leave?
You must enroll in coverage during the first 30 calendar days of your employment. Coverage begins on the first day of month following a 45 day waiting period from your hire date. Coverage will terminate the last day of the month of your separation from the County Government. The Long-Term Disability plan and Flexible Spending Accounts terminate the date your employment ends.
Is it mandatory to participate in the health plans? Can I be enrolled in more than one medical plan?
No. Enrollment is optional; however, you may choose only one of the medical plans (i.e. HMO or Point-of-Service) in addition to the vision, prescription, dental and group legal insurance plans. You can only enroll in the Short-term disability critical illness, accident insurance and permanent whole life insurance plans during open enrollment.
How are health benefit premiums paid?
The County provides a specified percentage subsidy towards the medical, prescription and vision health benefit plans. The remaining amount is deducted bi-weekly on a pre-tax basis from the employees’ paycheck. The County has 26 pay periods over a calendar year. The employee pays the total premium for the extra life insurance, long-term disability and voluntary benefit plans, if they elect to enroll. The County deducts the premiums for the extra life insurance and long-term disability plans from the first payroll of each month on an after-tax basis and the voluntary benefits also are after-tax deductions each payroll.
Who can be covered under my health plan?
An eligible dependent under the County’s health benefit plans is
- Spouse as defined by the Federal Government (Marriage Certificate and Social Security number required)
- Same Sex Spouse – Your legal spouse pursuant to the laws of the states that recognize same sex marriage (Marriage Certificate and Social Security number required)
- Child(ren) under age 26 – (Birth Certificate and Social Security number required). This includes stepchild(ren) or child(ren) of a same sex spouse. If you are only adding the stepchild(ren) or child(ren) of a same sex spouse, you will need to submit a marriage certificate. You will also need to submit the child(ren) birth certificate(s) and it must list your spouse as a parent.
- You may send payments for your benefits to Benefits Administration Division, 1400 McCormick Drive, Suite 245, Largo, Maryland 20774.
We also provide coverage for dependents for who you have assumed legal guardianship or legal custody. Please refer to the County's Health Benefits Manual concerning the requirements for covering these dependents.
Can I make changes to my health plans at any time?
You may only change your health plan during the annual open enrollment period or if you experience a family status change (i.e. marriage, birth/adoption, divorce/legal separation, change in residence/worksite.) Please note that changes to your health benefit plans as a result of a family status change must occur within 30-days of the event and you must complete an Enrollment/Change form and provide supporting documentation within the 30-day timeframe.
Can I continue my health benefits coverage after I terminate (not including retirement) from the County?
Under Federal law, the County is required to extend to you continuation of benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for up to 18 months for employees who terminate employment from the County. Employees that become disabled while on COBRA may continue the coverage for an additional 11 months. This will provide an employee with a total of 29 months of COBRA coverage. Employees who are separated from the County due to gross misconduct are not eligible for COBRA.
What is the cost for continuing medical coverage under COBRA?
You will be responsible for 100% of the monthly premium plus 2% for administrative fees.
How do I initiate COBRA?
Employees separating from employment with the County will receive written notification regarding their COBRA benefits. You must sign and return your election form within 60 days of your termination of benefits or the date of the letter, whichever is later. You have 45 days from the date you elect COBRA coverage to send in the payment for your benefits. Once the above information is received, your coverage will be the first of the month following termination of benefits. You may send payments for your benefits to Benefits Administration Division, Suite 245, 1400 McCormick Drive, Largo, Maryland 20774. Please contact the Division for acceptable payment methods.
Does the County offer life insurance?
Yes, the County offers basic life insurance, at no cost to the employees, equal to two times your base pay. Life insurance maximums are set by the employee’s salary schedule or collective bargaining agreement. As an example, if your base pay is $36,427, your life insurance payable amount is $73,000. Employees also have the option to buy additional life insurance of up to 4 times their annual salary.
What are accidental death benefits?
The County offers, at no cost to the employee, an accidental death benefit of $10,000 ($50,000 for police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, emergency response technicians, deputy sheriffs, and correctional officers; $15,000 for deputy sheriff civilians) which is payable upon the death or personal loss of an employee caused by an accident on or off the job.