Question: My husband was laid off mid march. The insurance at the company he worked for was valid through 3/31. As part of his severance package...the company is paying for COBRA till 7/1 which is when we would then be responsible for paying COBRA payments. The insurance through his current plan is very expensive and we would like to "shop" for our own insurance. We will not qualify for assistance as our income is just above the cut off. When is the last date we can apply/start paying for our own coverage other than the COBRA in order to take complete us. COBRA says we can drop them at anytime so that is not a issue.
Answer: You have a special enrollment period due your eligibility for COBRA until 6/1/14 (60 days from termination of group coverage), during which you can purchase an individual plan either in-exchange (subsidy) or off-exchange (no-subsidy). You can drop COBRA anytime, but you must apply for individual coverage before 6/1/14. If you apply through the exchange, indicate that "loss of coverage" is your qualifying event. If you opt for COBRA instead, it will remain your only option for the rest of 2014.