Unemployed people

COBRA coverage and the Marketplace

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

  • If you’re losing job-based coverage and haven’t signed up for COBRA continuation coverage, learn about your rights and options under COBRA from the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • If you decide not to take COBRA coverage, you can enroll in a Marketplace plan instead. Losing job-based coverage qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. This means you have 60 days to enroll in a health plan, even if it’s outside the annual Open Enrollment Period.

Learn how to enroll or get started now.

If you already have COBRA coverage

If you’re already enrolled in COBRA, you may have options in the Marketplace. This will depend on the time of year and if your COBRA is running out.

Can you change from COBRA to a Marketplace plan?
If your COBRA is running out If you’re ending COBRA early

During Open Enrollment

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.

Take action

If the chart says you can change from COBRA coverage to a Marketplace plan:

More answers

Does COBRA count as 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. See the COBRA options chart.

Can I switch from COBRA to Medicaid outside Open Enrollment?

You can apply for and enroll in Medicaid any time. If you qualify, you can drop your COBRA coverage early. See if you may qualify for Medicaid and CHIP.