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COBRA After Quitting Your Job: Qualifying Events and Eligibility

If I resign from my job voluntarily, will I qualify for COBRA health insurance?

Yes, You Can Get COBRA Insurance After You Quit Your Job

COBRA allows you to keep your employer-sponsored health insurance for up to 18 months if your coverage ends due to job loss, quitting or termination. Known as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, this legislation applies to employers with 20 or more employees. State-level Mini-COBRA laws extend similar requirements to small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time employees.

To be eligible for COBRA, you need to have been a covered employee and must have had insurance coverage at the time of your employment termination.

You Can Get Health Coverage After You Quit

If you’ve recently left your job, obtaining health insurance is important to keep you and your family safeguarded. One avenue to explore is COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) insurance. This option allows you to retroactively continue with the same health plan you had under your most recent employer.

How Do You Get COBRA After Losing Your Job?

You obtain COBRA from the employer that provided your most recent job-based health insurance. Here are the two steps for starting COBRA continuation of health insurance.

  1. Your former employer has up 45 days to send your COBRA continuing coverage election paperwork. This packet of information will give you the cost of your COBRA plan, how to enroll and where to make your premium payments.
  2. The law requires your former employer to give you a 60 day open enrollment period to choose to continue your current work health plan or waive COBRA coverage.

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When Does COBRA Coverage Begin?

Your COBRA insurance will start immediatelyafter making your first premium payment. Once you elect to continue the employer group health plan, your benefits will be retroactive to the date your coverage would otherwise have stopped. If you have out-of-pocket expenses between the time the coverage stopped and then started, you may be reimbursed by your carrier.

How Long Does COBRA Insurance Last After You Quit?

18 Months

Regardless if you quit, got fired, were laid off or retired you have the right to continue the employer’s group health insurance for up to 18 months. You will coordinate this benefit with the human resources department of the employer or their third-party administrator.

Depending on your circumstances you or your qualified dependents may be eligible for up to 36 months of continuing coverage.

COBRA Eligibility

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Workplace Qualifying Events

There are three types of qualifying events in the workplace that would make you eligible for COBRA insurance, they are:

  • Voluntary Termination or Quit Your Job : You handed in your two weeks’ notice, either to quit and take time off or to embark on your next journey with a new employer. In these cases, COBRA serves as temporary or gap insurance coverage before your new policy kicks in.
  • Involuntary Termination, Layoff or Fired: Your employer made the difficult decision to eliminate your position. Excluding instances of gross misconduct, you have the option to extend the coverage offered by your recent employer’s group plan, provided you qualified for coverage.
  • Retirement: You’ve determined that now’s the right time to sunset your career. You may want to consider COBRA for the time being if you have yet to qualify for Medicare. 

Gross Misconduct Does Not Qualify You For COBRA

If your termination reason was due to gross misconduct, the employer does not have to offer insurance continuation.

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