Once you have left a job, the length of time that your healthcare coverage lasts can depend on a few different factors, such as the type of plan you had and if you are eligible for continuation of coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
If you had a Health Insurance Marketplace plan or a job-based plan, you will still be eligible to buy individual health insurance through the Marketplace if you don’t have access to another type of health coverage.
Under COBRA, you may be eligible to temporarily continue the same health coverage you had through your job-based plan, although you’ll have to pay the full premium, including what your employer used to pay, plus a 2% administrative fee. Coverage through COBRA generally lasts up to 18 months, although it may continue beyond that in certain cases.
If you are eligible for COBRA, you will receive a notice from your previous employer with instructions on how to elect continuation of coverage. You should also check with your insurer or employer to see if there are any other options for continuing health coverage after you leave your job. Your state may also have additional continuation rights available to you.
It’s important to remember that if you don’t sign up for COBRA or other health coverage within 60 days of leaving your job, you may be subject to a gap in coverage, which could mean you’ll have to wait until the next open enrollment period to buy a plan. This could mean a lapse in healthcare coverage that could put you in a difficult financial situation if you ever need medical care.