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Understanding COBRA Insurance in California

California offers a state-specific COBRA program known as Cal-COBRA, designed for employees of businesses with 19 or fewer employees who lose their group health insurance for specific reasons. Unlike federal COBRA, which is applicable to companies with 20 or more employees, Cal-COBRA extends the benefit of continued health coverage to employees of smaller businesses.

COBRA Eligibility

California Allows

COBRA Alternative:
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Continuing Health Insurance Coverage In California

Please choose:

No Pre-Existing Conditions
Term Medical Gap Coverage

Available in some states, as low as $44/month

Coverage For
Pre-Existing Conditions

$400 – 700/month per individual

Nearing Retirement Age

Learn about Medicare Advantage

Understanding California’s Mini-COBRA Law

California’s mini-COBRA law mandates that employers with as few as two employees must offer the option of continuing group health insurance coverage through COBRA for a limited duration to employees who lose their jobs. To be eligible for this COBRA coverage, the employee must have been enrolled in the employer’s health plan at the time they lost their job.

Employees are required to pay the entire premium cost, which includes the portion previously covered by the employer. Coverage can be extended for a maximum of 18 months. This law aims to safeguard the health and financial stability of workers who have lost their jobs by allowing them to keep their health insurance.

About Cal-COBRA

California also offers a state-specific program called Cal-COBRA, which broadens the scope of COBRA-like coverage to include smaller employers and offers additional protections for employees.

Source: California Law (ARTICLE 1.7. California Cobra Program [10128.50 – 10128.59])

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In Good Health? The Short-Term Option

Short-term health insurance may be used as an alternative to COBRA. The plan premiums are affordable and the co-pays are predictable as coverage is limited to new illnesses and injuries.

These plans renew every month and you may cancel at any time.

Find out if you qualify for Short Term health insurance by registering to quote in the marketplace.

Health Insurance For Pre-Existing Conditions In California

Continuing on your workplace insurance with your COBRA rights is a practical idea if you visit the doctor often or take prescription medications. It’s the same health plan that you have been on. You won’t have to start your deductibles over as the plan picks back up at the date that it stopped.

Marketplace / Obamacare

Sometimes state and federal subsidies help offset the premium for individual marketplace insurance.

A loss of work health insurance is a qualifying event to find new healthcare through the public healthcare exchange.

In 2023, the average ACA health plan premium in California was $411/month per individual, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

You May Qualify For A Subsidy

Apply For COBRA

Employer Has 20+ Employees

As an employee, you may continue your most recent work health insurance for up to 18 months. Family members may access the plan for up to 36 months.

You sign up for COBRA with your former employer or their third party.

The premium will be $400 – 700 / month, per insured person.

California Mini-COBRA

Employer Has Two Or More Employees

In California, all employers are compelled to offer a continuation of worker’s health insurance. The human resources department or their third-party administrator will notify you on how to apply.

Short-Term Health Insurance For Those In Good Health

In California, you are able to bridge your insurance gap using an accident-only major medical plan.

Accident Only Insurance with Telehealth

Coverage begins as early as midnight tonight.

Pre-existing Conditions Do Not Exclude You From Accident Only Coverage

Plans start at $44/month.
Based on age and state availability

Includes Telehealth giving you access to prescribing doctors for common issues.

Accidents happen, and the last thing you want to worry about is who or how the bills are going to get paid. With this plan, you can focus on getting care. CAM helps you and your family with the high cost of healthcare resulting from injury or accidents.

Limited Indemnity with Telehealth

Includes Telehealth giving you
access to prescribing doctors for common issues.

Core Health Insurance provides guaranteed acceptance Limited Indemnity Medical coverage for your basic medical needs, helping to provide a medical option for people who do not have the luxury of being covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan.

Coverage begins as early as midnight tonight.


After your workplace insurance ends, you’ll sign up for Medicare within 8 months.

In general, you can sign up for Part A and Part B starting three months before your 65th birthday and ending three months after your 65th birthday.

Learn more about Medicare deadlines and how Medicare Advantage plans can replace original Medicare at no cost to you.

COBRA Is Available In All 50 States

Employee continuation of health insurance coverage is not required in all states. When a state lacks laws governing the continuation of work-related medical benefits, the federal COBRA Act protects these rights. Find out more about your state.

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