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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Can I switch From COBRA to Covered CA?

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Question: I was recently forced into early retirement and am losing my employer-provided health benefits. I made far too much money in 2016 to be eligible for a Covered CA subsidy, but I will certainly qualify in 2017, since my income in retirement has dropped considerably. Can I take COBRA for the remainder of 2016 (1.5 months), then enroll in covered CA starting on Jan 1, 2017 with the subsidy?

Answer: Yes. If you enroll in COBRA now, you can change to Covered California during open enrollment for a January 1, 2017 effective date of coverage. Also, your loss of coverage because of job loss makes you eligible for a special enrollment period that lasts 60 days from the date you lose coverage, but your Covered California coverage would not start until January 1st anyway. Something you should know about your COBRA rights: you have a 60-day period during which you can enroll in COBRA. You don't have to enroll now. What that means to you is you may be able to avoid paying for COBRA for a month and a half if you have no medical expenses during that period. If you have unscheduled medical expenses in that period of limbo, you can sign up for COBRA with a retroactive effective date back to the date of your loss of employer-based coverage.

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