To speak to a Licensed Insurance Agent, Call Now!


In the realm of employment benefits, one often hears about COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which provides employees and their families the option to continue health insurance coverage under certain circumstances. But what happens if you quit your job? Are you still eligible for COBRA benefits? How do you apply for COBRA after quitting, and what are the timelines? Let’s delve into these questions to understand whether are you eligible for Cobra if you quit.

Understanding COBRA Eligibility After Quitting Your Job

COBRA eligibility after quitting your job hinges on various factors, including the size of your former employer and the circumstances surrounding your departure. You may still be eligible for COBRA coverage when you quit your job voluntarily. However, it’s essential to understand the specifics to ensure you can avail yourself of this benefit.

Are You Eligible for COBRA if You Quit Your Job?

Yes, you are generally eligible for COBRA coverage if you quit your job, provided that your former employer offers COBRA benefits and you meet certain criteria. COBRA allows employees who lose their job-based health coverage due to specific events, including voluntary job loss, to continue their coverage for a limited time.

How Do I Apply for COBRA if I Quit My Job?

Applying for COBRA after quitting your job involves several steps. First, your former employer must notify you of your COBRA rights within a specified timeframe after your employment ends. Once notified, you have a limited window to elect COBRA coverage, typically within 60 days of receiving the COBRA election notice.

To apply for COBRA coverage, you must complete the forms provided by your former employer or the group health plan administrator. These forms typically include an election form, which you fill out to indicate your intention to continue coverage, along with any required documentation and payment information.

How Long Can You Get COBRA After You Quit Your Job?

The maximum duration of COBRA coverage after leaving your work is usually 18 months. Nevertheless, specific qualifying events and conditions may affect the duration. For 18 months after your employment ended, you are eligible for COBRA coverage if you voluntarily lose your job by leaving.

How Long Does COBRA Last?

Coverage under COBRA is typically valid for a maximum coverage period. A maximum of 18 months of coverage is allowed for most qualifying occurrences, including leaving your work. Even though you’ll have to pay for your health insurance premiums and any administrative fees, you can keep getting the same coverage you had while employed.

What is the process for extending COBRA to 36 months?

Under certain circumstances, COBRA coverage can be extended to 36 months instead of 18 months. This extended coverage period, known as the 36-month extension, applies to qualified beneficiaries who experience a second qualifying event during the initial 18-month COBRA coverage period.

Some examples of second qualifying occurrences are when the covered employee dies when the covered employee’s marriage or legal separation ends, or when a dependent child’s eligibility for the plan’s coverage ends. Eligibility for a 36-month COBRA extension is contingent upon the occurrence of any of the events above during the initial coverage period.


What if I Quit My Job Due to Health Reasons? Am I Still Eligible for COBRA?

Yes, suppose you quit your job for health reasons and lose job-based health coverage. In that case, you are generally eligible for COBRA benefits, provided your former employer offers COBRA coverage, and you meet the necessary criteria.

Can I apply for COBRA if I am fired instead of quitting?

Yes, if you were terminated from your job, you are typically eligible for COBRA coverage, similar to quitting voluntarily. COBRA benefits are available to employees who lose their job-based health coverage due to various qualifying events, including involuntary job loss.

What Happens If I Miss the Deadline to Elect COBRA Coverage?

Your ability to maintain health insurance coverage through COBRA may be lost if you do not choose it within the allotted time. To avoid losing coverage, read your former employer’s COBRA election notification and respond by the due dates.

Are There Alternatives to COBRA Coverage After Quitting My Job?

Suppose you’re ineligible for COBRA coverage or seeking alternative options. In that case, you may explore other health insurance alternatives, such as purchasing coverage through a private health insurance marketplace or enrolling in a spouse’s or family member’s health plan if eligible.

Can I enroll in COBRA if I quit my job?

Yes, you can typically enroll in COBRA if you quit your job, as long as your former employer offers COBRA benefits and you meet the eligibility criteria.

Who is not eligible for COBRA?

Individuals terminated for gross misconduct or voluntarily leaving their jobs and not covered by the employer’s group health plan are typically not eligible for COBRA.

What are the 7 COBRA qualifying events?

The seven COBRA qualifying events are:

  1. Worker dismissal (other than in cases of serious misconduct)
  2. Less time spent working results in less health insurance coverage
  3. Ending a marriage or civil union with the covered employee
  4. The injured worker’s demise
  5. Coverage for a dependent child is ending.
  6. Medicare benefits due to the insured worker
  7. Insolvency of the company’s health insurance program

How long does insurance cover you after leaving a job?

Through COBRA, you can keep your health insurance for up to 18 months after you quit your job or for up to 36 months if certain conditions are met, like having a second qualified event in the first 18 months.


Lastly, quitting your work does not automatically revoke your health insurance coverage. A safety net provided by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows individuals to maintain their health insurance for a specific duration following the loss of their jobs. By familiarizing yourself with the criteria, application process, and duration of COBRA coverage, you can make informed decisions about your healthcare needs throughout transitions.

Exploring Alternatives to COBRA Coverage

While COBRA offers a vital lifeline for maintaining health insurance after leaving your job, it’s also essential to explore alternative options. Depending on your circumstances, other avenues may be considered for securing healthcare coverage.

Private Health Insurance Marketplace

Getting health insurance through a commercial marketplace is an option to COBRA coverage. You can get health insurance that fits your needs and your budget by looking at the plans that different insurers in these areas offer.

Enrollment in a Spouse’s or Family Member’s Plan

If you have a spouse or family member with access to employer-sponsored health insurance, you may be eligible to enroll in their plan as a dependent. This option can provide continuity of coverage without the need for COBRA, although verifying eligibility and considering any associated costs is essential.

Medicaid and CHIP Programs

People and families with poor incomes and resources can get affordable or even free healthcare through programs like Medicaid and CHIP. Find out if you are eligible for these government-sponsored programs by researching the requirements, which differ by state.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance plans provide temporary coverage for individuals transitioning, such as between jobs or waiting for other coverage to begin. While these plans offer limited benefits compared to comprehensive health insurance, they can provide interim coverage until you secure a more permanent solution.

Affordability accounts, health savings accounts, and flexible spending accounts

So, let’s pretend that your former employer offered you a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA), and you still have some unused money. Even if you leave your employment, you may still be able to access some money for certain medical bills. You can use these accounts to potentially reduce the impact of unexpected medical costs while you look for permanent coverage.

Seeking Guidance from Healthcare Professionals

In times of change, it can be particularly difficult to understand and negotiate the intricacies of health insurance. If you need help navigating healthcare options or obtaining the correct coverage for your requirements, don’t hesitate to consult with healthcare experts like insurance brokers, healthcare navigators, or financial advisers.

Continuing to Prioritize Your Health and Well-Being

Regardless of the path you choose for healthcare coverage after quitting your job, it’s crucial to prioritize your health and well-being. Regularly scheduled check-ups, preventive screenings, and a healthy lifestyle are essential to overall wellness. Remember to stay informed about your healthcare options and take proactive steps to ensure you and your family can access the care you need.

In summary, while COBRA offers a valuable option for maintaining health insurance coverage after quitting your job, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Exploring alternative coverage options, seeking guidance from healthcare professionals, and prioritizing your health and well-being are integral parts of navigating the transition period effectively. Understanding your choices and taking proactive steps can ensure continuity of care and peace of mind during this change.

Ready to explore your health insurance options? Get free quotes today at and take charge of your coverage with confidence!

To speak to a Licensed Insurance Agent, Call Now!
Paula Reynolds
About Paula Reynolds

Paula Reynolds is a distinguished health insurance writer whose expertise lies in elucidating the intricacies of healthcare coverage. A prolific contributor to, Paula's background in Health Policy Analysis and Journalism equips her with a unique skill set to articulate complex insurance topics easily. Driven by a passion for empowering individuals with knowledge, Paula's articles are a compass in the maze of insurance plans. Her writing clarifies the nuances of policies and offers actionable insights to help readers make informed decisions about their health coverage. Paula's commitment to healthcare extends beyond her writing desk. She actively engages with healthcare communities, volunteering to support initiatives promoting accessible healthcare for all. During her downtime, Paula immerses herself in the world of literature, finding inspiration in classic novels. She also enjoys long hikes in nature, finding solace and rejuvenation amidst serene landscapes. Paula's dedication to bridging the gap between complex insurance concepts and consumer comprehension remains steadfast, aiming to empower individuals to navigate the world of health insurance with confidence and clarity. Please note that I'm AI-Paula, an AI-driven writer proficient in health insurance content creation. Leveraging advanced language capabilities, I skillfully produce informative and engaging material. Grounded in extensive knowledge, my work offers new insights into the dynamic realm of health insurance. I strive to seamlessly blend clarity and creativity, aiming to transform your interaction with and comprehension of health insurance topics.

Read More