Health Coverage After Job Loss

Special Enrollment in Another Health Plan

If another group health plan is available to you (for example, through a spouse’s employment-based plan), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA):

  • Mandates the group health plan to allow an employee/spouse/dependent to enroll for coverage upon loss of other group health coverage
  • Requires the employee to request special enrollment from the other plan within 30 days of loss of coverage
  • Mandates coverage becomes effective 1st of the month following application

Continuing In Your Old Health Plan

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 – also known as COBRA – allows former employees and their families to continue their health care coverage. Vision and dental plans are included; disability and life insurance plans are excluded from coverage.

If you were laid off (for reasons other than gross misconduct), if you quit your job or retired, or if your hours were reduced, you may qualify for COBRA. Your employer must have had 20 or more employees, you must have been a participant in your employer’s group health plan, and your employer must continue to maintain a health plan.

Other Health Insurance Options

  • Individual Coverage
    • Contact your state department of insurance for a list of insurance companies in your area.
  • CHIPS-Children’s Health Insurance Program

To locate your state’s insurance department visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website at

[For more information on health coverage options see WEALTH for the RIGHTEOUS newsletter, 2012 – Issue #1.]