There are two main options to help you keep your current health insurance plan, even after you leave your job, or to effortlessly enroll in a new plan while you figure out your next career moves.
If you are currently in between jobs or have lost your workplace health plan as a result of COVID-19, there are many options out there to help you maintain the coverage you and your family depend on, or to perhaps get a new health plan.
The Marketplace option
Ultimately, losing your on-the-job coverage for any reason qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. And as a result, you can enroll in a health plan outside of the annual open enrollment periods. You are able to shop health plans and see if you qualify for a premium tax credit to help you pay the monthly payments associated with your health plan.
You will also be able to choose an appropriate dental plan to ensure that you have the same level of coverage as you did with your employer.
During your application processes, you’ll also learn if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage from Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Your new health plan will start on the first first day of the month after you lose your workplace insurance plan.
Extended coverage through COBRA
Through COBRA continuation coverage, you may be able to keep your current job-based health plan for a period of up to 18 months.
COBRA is a federal law that allows you to stay on your employer plan even after you leave your job. Provided you opt to cover the full monthly cost of your plan on your own, plus, pay an administrative fee.
You can contact your employer to learn more about your options via COBRA.
How to estimate your income if you’re unemployed
It’s hard to predict your annual income if you’re unemployed. Still, it’s important to make your best estimate based on all current or expected sources of income for the year.
Types of income to include on your application:
Unemployment compensation, including unemployment compensation as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency. Learn more from the U.S. Department of Labor.
All household members’ income (not just yours)
Additional types of income, including interest income, capital gains, cash support, and alimony
Most withdrawals from traditional IRAs and 401ks. (But see IRS Form 8606 instructions (PDF) for information on non-deductible contributions, and IRS Publication 590-B (PDF) for information on Roth accounts.)
Note: It’s very important to immediately update your income information with the Marketplace if your income changes during the year. This will ensure you get the right amount of savings based on your new annual income estimate.
Related Frequently asked questions
What happens to my health insurance if I quit my job?
Losing job-based coverage, even if you quit or get fired, qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. This means you can buy insurance outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period. Your coverage can start the first day of the month after you lose your insurance...more
How long do you have health insurance after leaving a job?
Health insurance is active for at least 2 months after termination, in most cases, but some people keep their coverage for up to 3 years.
I need health insurance but I have no income
If you're unemployed you may be able to get an affordable health insurance plan through the Marketplace, with savings based on your income and household size. You may also qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).