How to Keep Your Health Insurance When You Lose Your Job

Life happens. If you’ve lost an employer-provided health insurance plan—whether it was yours, a spouse’s, or even a parent’s—options such as COBRA can help you stay covered.

How to Keep Your Health Insurance When You Lose Your Job

Life happens. If you’ve lost an employer-provided health insurance plan—whether it was yours, a spouse’s, or even a parent’s—options such as COBRA can help you stay covered.

The loss of a job, the unfortunate experience of a divorce, or the untimely death of a spouse. All of these can affect your employer-provided health insurance, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose your coverage. We can help you stay covered even when life has thrown you a curve ball.

COBRA health insurance father and son hero

What is COBRA?

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is a set of laws designed to help you temporarily keep your employer-provided health insurance when life happens—whether it’s the loss of a job, divorce, or the death of a spouse under whose plan you were covered—and give you time to find a permanent health insurance solution.

Who qualifies for COBRA?

Contrary to what many people think, COBRA which stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, isn’t actually health insurance at all, but a set of laws to help ensure you have access to employer-provided health insurance when you might otherwise lose it.

COBRA protects individuals who would otherwise lose access to an employer-provided health insurance plan, as well as any dependents who are covered by that plan (such as a spouse or a child).

Employer Requirements

In order to qualify for COBRA, the employer that was providing the health insurance needs to meet certain requirements, such as:

  • the employer needs to be in the private sector, or a state or local government
  • the employer needs to employ at least 20 people for at least 50% of the year

Individual & Employee Requirements

For the individual, a “qualifying event” needs to have taken place, such as:

  • the loss of a job, whether voluntary or involuntary
  • a reduction in the employee’s hours as a result of strike or a slowdown in business
  • medical leave or even death of the covered employee
  • divorce or legal separation that terminates the ex-spouse’s eligibility for benefits
  • a dependent child turning 26

When to Apply for COBRA & How Long It Lasts

Your window of time to exercise COBRA is limited and time-sensitive, so pay attention to deadlines. You usually have 59 days to request COBRA, and then 45 days to pay the first premium. Coverage can last up to 18 months for employees, and up to 36 months for dependents.

If you’re unsure about COBRA deadlines, qualifications, or even alternatives, contact us today. Our services are always free and we’re delighted to help.

If you’ve lost an employer-provided insurance plan, COBRA can help you stay covered for a time until you find a permanent solution.

How much does COBRA cost?

COBRA can be expensive. Instead of paying the group rate that was paid under the employer, you pay the full premium plus a 2% service charge.

However, in rare instances, such as in cases where you have ongoing medical conditions that require costly care, cheaper alternatives to COBRA might not be ideal because they may not provide the coverage you had under the employer’s plan.

While cost alone makes COBRA unrealistic for most people, each individual will need to consider their own unique needs, budget, and circumstances—and we can help you do that.

Is there a better alternative to COBRA?

For most people, yes, there is. If you meet certain income requirements—which most people do—you may qualify for a subsidy under Covered California which would help pay for the cost of an individual health insurance plan, giving you adequate coverage at an affordable rate.

There are many factors to consider, but we can walk you through all your options and help you find the one that’s right for you.

For most people, there is a better alternative to COBRA. And we can help you find it.

Losing your job doesn’t have to mean losing your insurance. Contact us today for free help.

Did you lose your employer-provided coverage and now you’re worried about health insurance? Are you thinking about COBRA but not sure if it’s right for you?

For over 40 years, we’ve helped thousands of people just like you find the best health insurance coverage for their needs—whether that’s COBRA or something else.

Contact us today and let us help you figure it out. Either call us toll-free at 1-877-698-9580, or simply fill out the form below and we’ll follow up with you as soon as possible.

What best describes you? Check all that apply. I had insurance through my job but was recently laid off or terminated.I was covered under my spouse's employer-provided plan but am recently divorced or widowed.I am an adult over 26 and am no longer covered under a parent's employer-provided plan.I am interested in more-affordable alternatives to COBRA.I have other questions (please explain below).