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Home > Health Insurance Basics > Finding Health Care > Keeping Coverage

Keeping Coverage

Try to stay insured. Before 2014, it is usually easier to keep your current plan than to qualify for and buy a new one. 

It will soon become easier to get new coverage because of health care reform changes.  In 2014, health plans will no longer be able to deny coverage or charge a higher premium because of a pre-existing condition. 

Also you can shop for a health plan through Covered California, a new health insurance marketplace. Covered California makes it easier to find, compare, and buy affordable health coverage. Visit www.coveredca.com for more information.  

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Avoid a gap in coverage

If you do change plans, try to make sure your new coverage starts before you drop the old one. In general, it is easier to get a new plan if you avoid a gap in coverage of over two months (62 days).

 

If your job ends or your hours are cut

There are laws that let you keep your group plan for up to 36 months and then buy individual insurance. You must pay the full premiums yourself, including any portion that your employer used to pay. But the cost and benefits may still be better than you could get if you bought insurance on your own. And you cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

  • You can keep your group plan up to 36 months with programs called COBRA/Cal-COBRA. Learn more about COBRA/Cal-COBRA...
  • When you use up COBRA/Cal-COBRA, you have the right to buy individual coverage. Ask your plan about HIPAA and conversion coverage plans, two kinds of individual coverage.  Learn more about HIPAA and conversion coverage...
  • Be sure to meet the deadlines for signing up for COBRA, Cal-COBRA, HIPAA, or conversion coverage. If your coverage is ending soon, ask your employer or plan about signing up.

 

If your health plan is cancelling your coverage

  • Your health plan may cancel your coverage if you or your employer did not pay your premiums. If this happens, call your plan right away and try to arrange payment.
  • A health plan can also cancel coverage if the member used fraud and deception to get services or violated the contract in other ways.
  • Your coverage may also end because your employer stops offering health coverage to employees. For information on continuing your coverage, read about HIPAA and Conversion Plans.
  • If you think your coverage was cancelled because of your health condition or because you need medical care, contact the Department of Managed Health Care's Help Center.


If your employer stops offering health coverage

  • In this case, you cannot get COBRA/Cal-COBRA, but you may have the right to buy individual insurance.
  • Ask your current health plan about HIPAA and conversion coverage.
  • Be sure to meet the deadlines for signing up for HIPAA or conversion coverage. If your coverage is ending soon, ask your employer or plan about signing up.


Compare your options

In some cases, insurance you get on your own costs less than COBRA, Cal-COBRA, HIPAA, or conversion coverage. Compare plans to select the best choice for you and your family.  Learn more about buying insurance on your own...

Some other things to know:

  • Under health care reform, many young adults can stay on a parent's health plan until they reach the age 26.
  • Health plans can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.
  • In 2014, it will become easier for people to get new coverage with these changes: 
    • Health plans can no longer deny coverage or charge more to adults with pre-existing conditions.
    • A new health insurance marketplace, Covered California, opened in October 2013 to help you more easily compare and buy health plans. Plans can start as early as January 1, 2014. Covered California also will help you apply for low-cost coverage or for tax credits to help pay your premium cost. Visit www.coveredca.com for more information.
  • Learn more about changes under health care reform...

 

Resources

Department of Managed Health Care - Consumer information through the Help Center.

U.S. Department of Labor - EBSA - Information about COBRA and HIPAA.

Covered California -  California's health insurance marketplace.

 

Health Plan Problems?

Call 1-888-466-2219

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