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Health Insurance While Unemployed

One of the major concerns an individual may have when they lose their job is the subsequent loss of employer-sponsored health insurance. Understanding your options in this situation is very important. 


If you had health insurance through your employer prior to losing your job, you may be able to maintain that coverage after you have lost your job. This is possible through a program known as COBRA (The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA provides people with the opportunity to continue their health coverage through the former employer’s group health plan for a limited time (called continuation coverage). COBRA is generally offered by employers with group health plans who have 20 or more employees.

COBRA may be offered to those who experience a cut back in working hours, a leave of absence, end of employment (except for gross misconduct), or other qualifying events. Under COBRA, qualified individuals must elect to receive coverage within 60 days of receiving notice and may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102 percent of the cost of the plan.

Since this plan is tied to your previous employer’s health insurance plan, if your previous employer no longer provides health insurance to current workers, you will not be eligible for COBRA benefits. Learn more about COBRA and how it works.

Alternative Healthcare Options

There may be more affordable healthcare options than COBRA such as a spouse’s healthcare plan, the Health Insurance Marketplace or Medicaid. You may qualify through the Special Enrollment Period. Learn more about your healthcare options.

Find out if you can still get coverage through the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace. Individuals and families can receive assistance when applying for coverage here. 

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