If you lose job-based health insurance

If you lose job-based health insurance, you have 2 main options:

  • Buy a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace®
  • Sign up for COBRA coverage

Option 1: Buy a health plan through the Marketplace

If you leave your job for any reason and lose your job-based insurance, you can buy a Marketplace plan.

Losing job-based coverage, even if you quit or get fired, qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period any time to enroll in coverage for the rest of the year.

Your coverage can start the first day of the month after you lose your insurance.

Option 2: Sign up for COBRA coverage

You may be able to keep your job-based health plan through COBRA continuation coverage.

COBRA is a federal law that may let you pay to stay on your employee health insurance for a limited time after your job ends (usually 18 months). You pay the full premium yourself, plus a small administrative fee.

More answers: If you lose job-based coverage

Can a Marketplace plan start the same day I lose my job-based insurance?

No. Marketplace plans take effect the first day of the month after your job-based insurance ends. So if you lose your insurance plan on March 7 and select a Marketplace plan by March 31, coverage can start April 1.

Do I need to provide proof that I lost insurance through my job?

You may be asked to provide proof that you lost insurance through your job. Your eligibility notice will explain how to verify your loss of coverage. The Marketplace may also contact you directly.

When I apply for a Marketplace plan after losing job-based insurance, does the income I made this year before I left my job count?

Yes. Savings on a Marketplace plan are based on your estimate of income for everyone in your tax household for the full calendar year you want coverage. Learn how to estimate your yearly income.

What if I lost my job-based insurance and I’m now eligible to enroll in a spouse’s plan? Can I buy a Marketplace plan instead?

Yes. But if you’re offered coverage through your spouse’s job, you aren’t eligible for premium tax credits or other savings on a Marketplace plan – even if you don’t accept the offer.

The only exception is if your spouse’s plan doesn’t meet certain standards for affordability or coverage. Most plans meet these standards, even if they charge high premiums for spouse and dependent coverage.
What if I leave my job with insurance and start another job that has a waiting period before I can enroll in it?

You can buy a Marketplace plan to provide coverage until your new job-based insurance starts. Until then, you can qualify for savings on a Marketplace plan based on your income.

Once you enroll in the new job-based insurance you can keep the Marketplace plan, but you’d have to pay full price.
You can end your Marketplace plan any time without penalty.
What if I leave my job that had health insurance and take a new job that doesn’t offer health insurance?

As long as you don’t have another offer of qualifying health coverage, you can enroll in a Marketplace plan and may be eligible for premium tax credits and other savings based on your income.