What Happens to My Health Insurance When I Lose My Job?

When you get your Blue Cross plan through an employer, your payments are taken out of your paycheck so you can use your coverage when you need it.

But if you lose the insurance coverage you had from your job, or need to buy your own for other reasons, you might not know what to do.

We’ll help you understand what steps you can take, such as getting COBRA coverage, and address some common concerns.

When insurance through a job ends

You have options to make sure you don’t go without coverage. If both are available, compare them to see which is best for you.

Change to a Blue Cross plan that you buy yourself

If you won't be covered by employer-provided insurance due to a job loss, you qualify for special enrollment. You'll have up to 60 days before and 60 days after your employer’s plan ends to purchase a plan. Find a plan.

What is COBRA?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, is a federal program that lets you keep the same coverage you had on the job. The difference is now you pay the full monthly cost, instead of sharing it with your employer.

You qualify for this program if your employer had 20 or more full-time employees and:

  • You or your employer ended your employment
  • Or, you lost insurance because you were laid off or your hours were reduced

To learn more about COBRA, talk to your former employer’s human resources representative or visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.

What happens if you have a pre-existing condition

Whether you’re buying your own insurance or getting it with a new job, you can’t be turned down because of a pre-existing condition. The plan can’t have a waiting period either, before it helps pay for care.

What happens to your deductible

A deductible is the amount you pay for health care services before your health insurance begins to pay.

Unfortunately, that amount doesn’t transfer from plan to plan. Your deductible starts over when you switch to new insurance.

Confirm your current doctor takes your new plan

You pay more or all the costs when you go to a doctor who doesn’t take your insurance. If you want a new plan to help pay for visits to a doctor you like, ask the doctor’s office if they accept it. Be sure to give them the full name of the plan.

You can also look on our website to find doctors and see what plans they take.

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