Are you able to enroll in COBRA insurance if you quit your job?

I am thinking about starting a business. While the funds are being gathered and other good stuff, I don’t want my insurance to lapse. Does anyone know if I may enroll in COBRA insurance even if I quit?

Yes, I’ve done it.

The only caveat I’d offer is that if your company is too small, it’s not legally bound to offer it. If they do offer it, I think it’s only available for 18 months. It’s also typically much more expensive than private insurance, but it’s also probably better.

Family coverage on COBRA can be a thousand dollars a month or so. An individual might be half that give or take. You might be better off just paying for regular medical care out of pocket and buying a high deductible catastrophic plan in case the unexpected happens.

–Part of my job is working with COBRA data for large corporations.

It would only be for the first month during the transition between my current job and the new business getting all of its duck in a row. I only want to be sure that insurance doesn’t lapse in between time.

Most insurance companies have rules about existing conditions that seem odd and even arbitrary. But the rule, as it was explained to me by HR when I started this job, said that as long as the old insurance hadn’t lapsed, I would not have to worry about existing conditions. If the old insurance had lapsed, I have to wait 2 years before I can get existing conditions treated. This was the same explanation that my coworkers were given when they started.

I’d check with your insurance company. You’re certainly not entitled to COBRA insurance, but the health insurer may offer it to you anyways.
There are two circumstances that are needed to qualify for COBRA,: the company must employ 20 or more employees, and you must leave for a qualifying reason. In general, for the primary insured person, these reasons are the same as the reasons you would need to collect unemployment. Resignation isn’t one of them (I’m pretty sure)
You could check and see what private plans are available: depending on the size of your company, often the rates given to small companies (you only have to pay what your company would have paid if you’re getting COBRA insurance) aren’t that much better than the individual-group rates.

ETA: I’m totally wrong. While you aren’t eligible if your termination is for gross misconduct, apparently resignation is a qualifying event. Now, just as long as your employer has at least 20 employees, you should be golden for COBRA coverage.

I think you have a slight misunderstanding of what COBRA is: COBRA insurance is just health insurance offered at the same rate it was offered to your former employer after you lose eligibility through them.
It’s required to be the same coverage level, as well. Private insurance plans are typically offered at all sorts of varying levels, some of which will be better than what company X has picked out for its employees, and some of which will be worse. All will be more expensive.
Usually, you can continue it for 18 months, there are a few circumstances where this can be doubled to 36.

From the PA Department of Insurance website…

I quit my job earlier this month (from an employer in CA that had a lot more than 20 employees), and I was offered COBRA continuation. Turns out I didn’t need it (my coverage extends long enough that Mr. Neville’s coverage with his new job will have started by the time it ends).

I don’t think I misunderstand what COBRA is. I agree with your definition.

However, in my experience, personal policies aren’t nearly as good as anything I’ve seen offered by even the most simple group coverage plans. On the other hand, they’re usually cheaper than COBRA.

When I was on COBRA, my premiums for me and my husband were $550 a month. It went up to $750 eventually. I paid it for a while because it was great insurance - dental, eye, and very good health coverage.

In comparison, private medical insurance ran us about $250/month. It wasn’t near as nice a policy as what I had under COBRA, but from what I can tell, personal policies that have the same level of coverage as most group plans simply don’t exist. The one drawback to being self-employed is the health insurance.

The reason that it’s usually more expensive is that you’re now paying the full amount. Typically, the employer will pay for a portion of your insurance premiums.

I can tell you that I quit my job to start a business and went on COBRA for a year or so.

However, rather than relying on anonymous postings, why not call your regional EBSA office and ask them?

http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/aboutebsa/org_chart.html#section13

Thanks everyone.

Antinor01, that is some great information, exactly what I needed.

I refuse to deal with those guys.

They’re a bunch of snakes.

I was going to say something very similar. However, if ongoing treatment is needed, I can certainly see the need for continuity of coverage.

If it’s not too invasive, what do you plan on doing once your new company is fully operational?

It’s also because insurance companies just give better rates to groups: the bargaining power to provide hundreds of accounts means the world in the health insurance racket… err… business.

For what it’s worth, I’ve found comparable policies (in coverage) offered by Blue Cross to private clients compared to the ones offered through their contract with Duke University. For single clients, the rates are about 12% cheaper through Duke. Family rates are closer to 30% discounted.

Follow-up! Make sure your employer submitted the forms.