COBRA coverage & the Marketplace

When you lose job-based insurance, you may be offered COBRA continuation coverage by your former employer.

See 2021 plans and prices to compare them to your COBRA coverage or offer.

If you qualified for COBRA premium assistance

If you qualified for COBRA continuation coverage because you or a household member had a reduction in work hours or involuntarily lost a job, you may have qualified for help paying for your COBRA premiums (called "COBRA premium assistance").

COBRA premium assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was available April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. Since this help ended on September 30, you can enroll in a Marketplace plan with a Special Enrollment Period. To enroll, you can report a September 30 "loss of coverage" on your application. You can’t qualify for a premium tax credit while you’re enrolled in COBRA, so if you want to change to Marketplace coverage, make sure that your COBRA coverage ends on the last day before your Marketplace coverage can start. If you decide to keep COBRA without premium assistance, you can qualify for a Special Enrollment Period based on the end date of your COBRA coverage, which is usually 18 to 36 months after it started.

If you have questions about COBRA or COBRA premium assistance, visit the U.S. Department of Labor at DOL.gov or call 1-866-444-3272 to speak to a benefits advisor.

If you already have COBRA coverage

If you’re already enrolled in COBRA, you may have options in the Marketplace.

Can you change from COBRA to a Marketplace plan?

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If your COBRA is running outIf you’re ending COBRA earlyIf your COBRA costs change because your former employer stops contributing or you lose a government subsidy (like COBRA premium assistance) and you must pay full cost

During Open Enrollment

Yes, you can change.

Yes, you can change.

Yes, you can change.

Outside Open Enrollment

Yes, you can change — you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

No, you can’t change until the next Open Enrollment Period, your COBRA runs out, or you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period another way.

Yes, you can change — you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

More answers

Does COBRA count as qualifying health coverage (or "minimum essential coverage")?

Yes. This means if you have COBRA coverage you don’t have to pay the fee that people without coverage must pay.

What if I already signed up for COBRA but it’s too expensive?

Your options depend on whether it’s during the annual Open Enrollment Period and whether the cost for you has recently changed. See the COBRA options chart.