How Long Do You Have Health Insurance After Leaving a Job?

health insurance after leaving a job

You handed your boss the resignation letter, had an interview for your exit with Human Resources, and your colleagues hosted the ultimate party to celebrate your departure. Finally, you’re ready to quit and head off to your next venture. Then it happens to you. The problem is that you must know what happens when employer-sponsored health insurance expires or even how to obtain insurance yourself.

Finding out about health insurance after quitting a job could be confusing and frustrating; however, there are ways to transition to your old insurance as smoothly as you can by being prepared. Find out when your health insurance is over and what options you’ll have when it is due to expire.

Key Takeaways

  • Most employees lose their health coverage either on their last day of employment or at the close of the month when they cease to work.
  • You’ll likely have access to COBRA, a temporary insurance plan that allows you to continue to use your health insurance after leaving the job you’ve been employed in; however, you’ll need to cover the entire cost of premiums.
  • You can use the marketplace for health insurance to find an individual or family policy following the loss of your coverage through your employer.

When Does Health Insurance Expire After Leaving a Job?

While there aren’t any set guidelines, most employers’ healthcare insurance is terminated at the time you stop working, or at the close of the month during which you finish your work day. Therefore, employers establish the guidelines for the time that health insurance provided by employers is terminated when you resign or terminate your employment.

Contact your human resources department to find out about your company’s policies. It is also possible to learn more about the expiration date of your health insurance in the benefits paperwork.


You may find the solutions to the questions about health insurance expiration in the employee handbook or online employee portal.

If you are planning to quit work on the 1st of May. You meet with your HR representative, and they inform you that your employer will cease health insurance coverage at the end of the month, which falls on the employee’s final day. That means your last day of coverage could be the 31st of May unless you act. You will be covered on the 1st of June.

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Health Insurance Options After Leaving a Job

The good news is that a majority of people have access to a variety of options for health insurance after quitting the job, regardless of whether they have access to an employer-sponsored plan.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act also referred to as COBRA is an act that permits you and your family members to remain in your current health insurance plan under certain situations. COBRA coverage is temporary insurance that can continue health insurance to your spouse or former spouse and your dependent children.

Most employers who employ more than 20 employees are required to offer the COBRA option, except for certain religious groups and those employed by the Federal Government. In addition, certain states have COBRA obligations for businesses with less than 20 employees. 1

A COBRA plan typically covers you for up to 18 months. However, you’ll need to pay the entire cost of the premiums and an administrative cost on your own. 2 This could make COBRA plans costly, particularly in the absence of an income.

While COBRA may be costly, some of the reasons you should think about it after quitting your job are:

  • You have already started an employment opportunity and require coverage for a month or two before your new benefits take effect.
  • You’ve already met your minimum deductible for your health insurance plan of the entire year.

The Health Insurance Marketplace

An alternative that is a popular option to COBRA insurance is to buy the individual health or family policy via the marketplace for health insurance. The loss of your job and the health insurance coverage offered by your employer is a prerequisite for a particular time to enroll in the market. It can start as early as the beginning of the month following the loss of your insurance. 2

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You can apply and search for health insurance plans online. Your application will reveal whether you are eligible for savings on medical or premiums dependent on your income as well as whether you’re eligible to receive Medicaid.

Marketplace plans can be a reasonable method of obtaining health insurance during the time between different jobs. It is possible to end a marketplace plan without penalty if you start receiving benefits from the new job. 3

Join Your Spouse’s Plan

You can join the health insurance plan of your spouse’s employer if you’re married. It would be best if you were typically covered by a different insurance plan when you first rejected coverage from your spouse’s insurance plan to be eligible. You’ll need to wait until your spouse’s open enrollment period begins at work.

Imagine that you were already employed at your current job when the couple was married. Both of you were insured through your job, and you decided not to enroll in each other’s plans. You may be able to enroll in the spouse’s plan through a special enrollment period now that you’re moving out of your position and losing health coverage. 4

Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance plans provide temporary insurance plans that assist you in paying for emergencies that are not covered by your insurance plan. have any other insurance? These plans differ from individual plans. They can only be covered for up to 3 months. 5


The Affordable Care Act doesn’t approve short-term health insurance plans. They do not have to offer the same benefits as regular health insurance. That means your application might be denied for medical reasons like an existing medical illness.

Short-term insurance plans’ absence of comprehensive coverage is why they’re typically cheaper than other kinds that offer health insurance. However, short-term goals can be viable for those who require temporary protection from catastrophic incidents, such as fractured bones or an unexpected illness. Make sure you review the policy before joining and be aware of any restrictions or exclusions.

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How To Prepare To Leave a Job

Explore all options to get health insurance before taking a break from your job. Every person’s financial and medical needs differ. You may benefit from continuing coverage under COBRA, or it could be better to sign up for an individual plan in the market.

Follow these guidelines to ensure that you’re protected if your insurance plan from your employer expires:

  • Contact your HR representative before you quit to find out how your employer’s insurance policy operates and when you’ll be unable to access insurance coverage.
  • It is possible to quit sooner in the month if your employer lets you retain the coverage until the final date of each month. This can allow you to have the time required to find new coverage, like from a different employer, and not have been paying for COBRA.
  • Take all the documents you need to sign up for your new health insurance policy. Marketplace offers the easy checklist to help you fill out an application for a health insurance plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I sign-up to be eligible for COBRA Health insurance?

The employer you left with must inform them within fourteen days after departing from your position if you’re eligible in the field of COBRA insurance. The notification will tell you how to apply to be insured. It will take you 60 days to enroll or opt out of insurance. You’ll also be able to locate information on your COBRA options within the health insurance documents you received at the time of your first job. 6

Where can I obtain health insurance if I’m not employed?

It is possible to get health insurance by enrolling in the COBRA plan if your job isn’t available by buying it through the Health Insurance Marketplace, by signing up for an insurance plan for your spouse or purchasing an insurance plan with short-term insurance for emergencies.

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