People with coverage through a job

If you lose job-based health insurance

If you lose your job-based health insurance, you have 2 main options for health insurance coverage: a Marketplace plan or COBRA continuation coverage.

Option 1: Get a Marketplace plan

If you leave your job for any reason and lose your job-based coverage, you can choose to buy coverage from the Marketplace. This is true even if you leave your job outside the annual Marketplace Open Enrollment Period. Losing job-based coverage qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period that allows you to buy insurance outside the regular Open Enrollment period.

When you apply through the Marketplace, you’ll learn if you qualify for lower costs on your monthly premiums on private insurance. You could also qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs.

Through the Marketplace you’ll also learn if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage from Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Option 2: Get COBRA coverage

You may be able to keep your job-based plan through COBRA continuation coverage. COBRA is a federal law that may let you pay to keep you and your family on your employee health insurance for a limited time (usually 18 months) after your employment ends or you otherwise lose coverage.

Learn more about your options for changing to a Marketplace plan if you have COBRA continuation coverage.

Get covered to avoid the penalty

If you don’t have health coverage that’s considered minimum essential coverage, you may have to pay a penalty. You’ll also have to pay all the costs for your health care.

This is true no matter what your employment status is.