Your employer can notify the insurance company that you are no longer employed as soon as you employment ends. The good news is there is a federal law in place, the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, which requires insurance companies to give you the option of continuing your coverage for a specific period of time. So even if you lose your job today, you could still keep your current health insurance coverage for up to 18 months, and that can be extended even farther.
When your employer notifies the insurance carrier that you are no longer on the payroll, the insurance company will notify you of your COBRA rights. If you choose to continue your current health insurance, you should fill out the paperwork the insurance carrier sends to you and return it as soon as possible. By law, you only have 30 days to respond to the COBRA continuation offer.
If you do choose to enroll in COBRA, you will be responsible for one-time processing fees and paying your full regular premiums when they are due. Your premiums will usually be noticeably higher under COBRA because you have to pay the full premium, including any portion that was previously paid for by your employer.
Because of the additional costs involved, COBRA coverage is not suitable as a replacement for your group health insurance. The intention of COBRA is to extend your coverage for a limited time while you find another group insurance plan. To find a new group health insurance plan, check with organizations you belong to such as AAA, AARP, or Sam's Club, or look for group health insurance plans on websites which offer free group health insurance rate comparisons.