What if I'm losing job-based insurance?



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

Losing job-based coverage

If you lose your job and with it your job-based health insurance coverage, you may buy an individual plan through the Marketplace. You may also have the option of keeping your health insurance for a limited time through a program called COBRA continuation coverage.

  • Option 1: Get an individual 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 Marketplace open enrollment period. By using 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 also 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.

If you buy COBRA continuation coverage, you won't be able to get any of the lower costs on premiums and out-of-pocket costs that people may get using the Marketplace. You’d also have to pay the full monthly premium, including any part of the premium that your employer had contributed.

Get covered to avoid the penalty

If you do not have coverage that is considered minimum essential coverage starting in January 2014, you may have to pay a penalty. You will also have to pay all of the costs for your health care.