Question: As I understand it, when the ACA goes into effect, that is effectively the end of COBRA. If you lose, or resign from, a job mid-year (not during the yearly enrollment period), are you allowed to purchase insurance through the exchange at that time?
Answer: If you loose access to affordable employer-sponsored group coverage outside of the annual open enrollment period you will be eligible for a special enrollment period during which you can purchase coverage in the individual exchange. While this eliminates the need for COBRA, the Department of Labor has ruled that COBRA will continue to be available in 2014. One scenario where a person could benefit by staying on COBRA is that it is cheaper than Covered California individual coverage would be.