Secure Your Health Coverage: Options to Explore Before Quitting Your Job

when does health insurance expire after leaving job

Leaving your job is a significant life decision, one that often carries a host of complexities and considerations. At the forefront of these concerns is the pressing question: When does health insurance expire after leaving job? Your health coverage is a lifeline, safeguarding you and your loved ones against unforeseen medical expenses. As you contemplate leaping at new opportunities, it’s crucial to secure your health coverage without a gap. 

In this guide, we’ll explore vital options to help you ensure the continuity of your health insurance before bidding farewell to your current job. These strategies will empower you to embark on your journey with the peace of mind that your health coverage remains steadfast. Let’s dive into the world of insurance possibilities and discover how to safeguard your well-being during this transitional phase of your career.

What Happens to Your Insurance When You Quit Your Job?

Most employment-based insurance coverage ends when you leave your job. Your health insurance status will be determined by the type of coverage that you receive through your employer. COBRA may be available to you if, for example, your employer offered group health coverage and had at least 20 employees. COBRA, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), is a federal statute that protects employees and their families against losing their health insurance coverage due to certain changes in employment and family circumstances. Below, we’ll go into more detail about COBRA.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 54% of U.S. residents had employment-based insurance coverage by 2021. This means these individuals were covered by private health insurance through their employer or union.

When Does Health Insurance Expire After Leaving Job?

Your coverage will usually end on the last day you work or at month’s end if it is a job-based plan. Your employee health plan will determine the exact date. You may be covered for a longer period if you retire.

Plan to ensure you have health insurance before you leave your job.

If you are eligible for COBRA coverage, it may be possible to continue your employee health insurance for up to 18 months.

7 Options for Health Insurance if You’ve Quit Your Job

You have several options if you’re quitting your current job and want to continue health insurance. You may choose from:


Federal law allows you to extend your insurance coverage for up to 18 months (or longer if certain conditions are met) following a termination. COBRA is expensive because you must pay the employer’s share of your premium on top of what you already paid. Some states allow employers to charge an administrative fee of 2%.

You can usually continue your COBRA coverage if you were employed by a company that had 20 or more workers and was not affiliated with the federal government, a religion, or an organization. Even if you don’t sign up, your spouse and any children covered under the plan can still get COBRA coverage. You must have at least 60 calendar days to enroll in COBRA from the date that you receive your “election notification” (which informs you of your COBRA options) or the date when you lose your coverage.

2. Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act marketplace offers a special registration period to people who experience a qualifying event, such as losing job-based insurance. The special enrollment period usually begins 60 days before your coverage is expected to end and ends 60 after it does. Shop around. Marketplace plans can be cheaper than COBRA and may offer more benefits.

3. Medicare

You may be eligible for Medicare if you’re at least 65 years old or have a disability that lasts a long time. You have a special enrollment period of 8 months starting the day after you lose your insurance.

4. Medicaid

You had a low income while you were working. Quitting your job reduced your family’s earnings? Medicaid may offer low-cost insurance based on your income. Each state administers Medicaid, so your eligibility will vary depending on your residence.

5. Partner’s Plan

When your health insurance coverage ends, you may be eligible to join the plan of your spouse or partner. Your partner’s employer-based insurance plan may have different rules regarding enrollment. Check with your partner’s employer or the insurance plan for details.

6. Under 26

You may be eligible to join a parent’s insurance plan if you lose your employer-sponsored health insurance and are younger than 26. You may have to wait until open enrollment if your parent’s plan is job-based. You may be eligible for a special period if your parent is enrolled in an ACA Marketplace plan. Some plans allow coverage up until the end of your 26th year.

7. Special Plans

While you are between jobs, a short-term policy with limited benefits may be the best solution. Consider other coverage options such as accident, catastrophic, fixed indemnity, and cost-sharing insurance. You can access a campus-based insurance plan if you’re enrolled in school.

How Can I Select a New Health Insurance Plan After Quitting My Job?

Check the summary of coverage and benefits when choosing a new health insurance plan. Consider the three Ds.

  • Doctors: Make sure your regular doctors are included in the network of your new insurance plan.
  • Drugs: Check the formulary if you are taking prescription drugs to see if they are covered.
  • Diagnostics: Check to make sure that your new plan includes diagnostic services.

What Insurance Plans Cover Medications and Pre-existing Conditions?

Insurance companies are prohibited from discriminating against those with pre-existing medical conditions under the ACA. This requirement does not apply to short-term insurance policies lasting less than one year. Many of these plans do not cover pre-existing conditions.

Consider your present and future healthcare needs up to the end of this coverage year. You can learn about the following information by checking a plan’s summary benefits and coverage.

  • Deductibles
  • Limits on out-of-pocket expenses
  • Different services have different copayments.
  • All covered medications
  • Copayments for prescription medications by tier
  • Visits to in-network or out-of-network providers are priced differently.

What Happens if You Miss Your ACA Special Enrollment Period?

You must wait until open enrollment to purchase a Marketplace plan if you miss the ACA special enrollment window, which runs from 60 days before a qualifying event such as losing your job.

In most states, the ACA open registration period begins November 1 and ends January 15 in most states. The ACA open registration period will depend on where you live. is the federal platform for Affordable Health Care Act information, and it also serves as an enrollment portal for 33 states. The District of Columbia, 17 states, and the District of Columbia have their marketplaces with their deadlines.

You may still be able to sign up for the insurance mentioned above plans if you missed your ACA special registration period.

What Are My Insurance Options When I Quit a Job Versus if I’m Fired?

Your insurance options are usually the same if you are fired or quit. COBRA may not be available if your termination is due to gross misconduct.

You may have different options if you are retiring from your job because some unions and employers offer special insurance for retirees. Medicare provides some advice on the questions to ask to determine if you are eligible for this type of coverage. This could be a Medigap-like supplemental plan.

Obamacare Is Cheaper Than Cobra, but What About the Cost of Obamacare?

Obamacare is the other name for the Affordable Care Act. Affordable Care Act Marketplace (Obamacare) plans are often cheaper than COBRA.

Depending on your monthly income, you might qualify for a subsidy to lower the cost of your ACA-compliant health insurance plan. Or you could opt for a tax credit for premiums on your tax return.

The 2021 American Rescue Plan has made ACA coverage easier to access. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act also helps to provide access to lower prices through 2025. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has reported that four of five people can find a plan for less than $10 monthly.

COBRA requires that you pay for the entire cost of your insurance. COBRA requires you to pay your monthly premiums, as well as the employer’s contribution, even if you are no longer employed.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation 2021 Employee Health Benefits survey, the average annual employer-sponsored insurance premiums for an employee were $7,739 and $22,221, respectively, for a family. These premiums are about $645 monthly for an individual employee and $1852 for a family. You would be responsible for all costs under COBRA.

However, cost may be one of many factors to consider. You may want to consider COBRA if you’ve met your deductible and you still have health problems. This is better than switching plans and paying another deductible. You can retain your doctor and pay little for your health care aside from the increased premium. Switching plans will reset your deductibles, and you may have to change providers. This can be harmful to your financial and physical health.

Can I Cancel Cobra in the Middle of the Month?

COBRA coverage is available month-to-month and can be canceled at any time. It’s best to cancel in writing if you choose to. Once you cancel the coverage, you cannot reinstate it.

If you plan to cancel COBRA, it’s crucial to consider the timing. You must be eligible to enroll in your next plan before the end of your COBRA coverage. You will usually be able to buy a policy during the open enrollment period if you want to stop COBRA but still have ACA coverage or another group plan. You must have exhausted COBRA coverage to qualify for a special ACA enrollment period.

Can My Former Employer Cancel Cobra?

If you fail to pay a premium and do not send the money within the grace period of 30 days, your COBRA coverage may be canceled. In this case, you can reinstate your coverage. You may also be able to reinstate your coverage if that former employer continues to offer group health care insurance.

What Happens to Cobra Coverage When I Change Jobs?

If your new employer provides health insurance, COBRA coverage will usually end. Getting a new job does not automatically terminate your COBRA coverage. COBRA benefits usually end when you enroll in insurance at your new employer.

COBRA was designed to provide you with insurance during a period of transition when you do not have employer-sponsored insurance. When you enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan, your COBRA coverage is replaced. If you change jobs, you won’t have to pay COBRA premiums and rely on the former employer’s health plan.

If you are on COBRA and reach the age of eligibility for Medicare, your COBRA coverage can be terminated.

What Happens to Obamacare When I Change Jobs?

Changing jobs can affect your Obamacare insurance (ACA), including:

  • Subsidies: Subsidies are based on income limits. Your new income may increase your monthly health insurance costs. Report any changes in income or employment to the Marketplace immediately.
  • Eligibility: You may not be eligible to purchase ACA coverage without a job-based insurance offer. You may still be eligible for ACA coverage if your new employer does not provide group health insurance.


Navigating the transition between jobs is a critical phase that demands careful consideration, particularly regarding the continuity of health insurance. When does health insurance expire after leaving a job? It is a pivotal question, and this guide has delved into seven essential options to secure your health coverage before bidding farewell to your current employment. Ensuring the protection of your health and well-being during this shift is paramount, and knowing available choices empowers you to make informed decisions.

Life changes, such as leaving a job, should not mean compromising on health security. By exploring avenues like COBRA, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, or even leveraging a partner’s plan or specific short-term coverage, you can bridge potential gaps in your health insurance. These options exist to safeguard your health and financial stability during a transition, minimizing the risk of facing exorbitant medical expenses or gaps in coverage.As you explore these health insurance options, you must make well-informed decisions that suit your circumstances. Seek professional advice and guidance to ensure a smooth transition and continued health coverage. For comprehensive assistance in navigating the array of life insurance options, consider contacting the Affordable Health Insurance Agency. Our experts are dedicated to helping you find affordable and suitable health insurance plans tailored to your needs, ensuring a seamless transition as you move forward in your career. Your health matters, and securing the right coverage is key to your peace of mind. Contact the Affordable Health Insurance Agency today to safeguard your health during this crucial period of change.

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