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I will be resigning from my current employer next week and moving to another company: the new employer is a much smaller fabrication company and does not have as good health insurance.

For example, my current health insurance (which includes dental AND vision) costs a total of $800/mo (my contribution is 45% of that, and that's deducted pre-tax)

The new employer has health insurance (which DOES NOT include dental AND vision) that costs a total of $1300/mo (my contribution will be 85% of that, pre-tax)

The plan is also significantly degraded and the only one that comes closer at the new company costs a total of $1700/mo.

  1. I know COBRA allows employees to continue using their employer's group insurance after being laid off for 19 months, but since I am resigning and moving to another company, I am wondering, if there is a similar process I could follow?

  2. If I were to become self-employed/start my own company, would I be allowed to continue on my employer's group insurance?

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  1. COBRA is with regards to any termination, not only if you're laid off. If you leave your job voluntarily you're still eligible for COBRA, at least from my experience in California. Once you start working at the new job that provides health benefits - you're expected to roll-off of COBRA.

  2. No. Once you run out of the COBRA period - you're on your own.

  • 1. COBRA period is 19 months? 2. What happens with the 15% that my new employer will not have to pay since I will be paying for my COBRA on my own (or will my new employer be able to contribute whatever amount they would have in their group plan to my COBRA plan?) – sekharan Feb 12 '14 at 1:58
  • You'll have to talk to your COBRA provider about periods, but 19 months sounds about right. Re what happens with the employer's 15% - they keep it. – littleadv Feb 12 '14 at 2:04
  • I am confused: skloverworkingwisdom.com/blog/index.php/… – sekharan Feb 12 '14 at 2:09
  • Made that point clear in my answer – littleadv Feb 12 '14 at 2:16
  • @sekharan: I think it's 18 months. California also has Cal-COBRA that covers it up to 36 months, but the fees are higher than normal COBRA. – user102008 Feb 12 '14 at 20:12
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Your current insurance, but at full price, is available to you via COBRA.

You can also look on your states exchange or the federal exchange for insurance.

You generally will not get your new company to provide money for COBRA or a policy not offered by your employer. But you can always ask. I have known of some companies that will provide money or vacation days to employees that get their insurance via TRICARE (for retired military).

Also you will have to watch open seasons. When you start with the new company you have 30 days to join their program. If you don't signup in time, you have to wait for either a life event, or the next open season - which only happens once a year. If COBRA runs out before you get the new insurance in place you will have a problem. Note that open season may lead the start of the new policy by weeks or months.

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