What are my options if I have to leave my group insurance?

If you need to leave your employer-sponsored plan, you have two options. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, is a federal program that lets you get the same coverage you had through your employer by paying the entire premium yourself.

You can choose COBRA or purchase an individual health insurance plan.

You qualify for insurance through COBRA if you are leaving a group of 20 or more and your health insurance was canceled within the last 60 days because:

  • You were laid off
  • You are working fewer hours than you used to
  • Your employer ended your employment
  • You ended your employment

In some circumstances, spouses and children can also qualify for COBRA coverage. This can happen:

  • When a spouse or parent who receives coverage dies
  • When a spouse or parent who receives coverage gets divorced
  • When a spouse or parent who receives coverage becomes eligible for Medicare
  • When a child of a parent who receives coverage is no longer eligible for dependent child status
The insurance coverage extension through COBRA can last anywhere from 18 to 36 months.

For more information about qualifying for COBRA coverage, ask your employer’s benefits representative. You can also visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.

If you're enrolled in COBRA and want to switch to an individual plan outside of the open enrollment period, you'll need to call your agent or one of our health plan advisors.