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Can I quit my job (with a group health insurance plan) and still continue coverage with the same insurance company on an individual basis?

Sept. 7, 2007

Health Insurance Forum

Question:
Can I quit my job (with a group health insurance plan) and still continue coverage with the same insurance company on an individual basis? I'm pregnant and want to keep my present coverage.

Dawne, Georgia

Answer:
Dear Dawne,

You cannot convert your employer-sponsored group health insurance plan into an individual health insurance plan. Any individual health insurance policy that you now apply for will be considered a new policy and every individual insurer will reject you because your pregnancy will be considered a pre-existing condition. See Pregnancy complicates health insurance options.

However, if you do quit your job (and your employer offers both maternity benefits and continuation of group health insurance benefits under COBRA), then you may continue with the same insurer for 18 months and your pregnancy and delivery will be covered. See Know your COBRA rights.

It's important to remember, though, that when you opt to buy COBRA, you must pay the full premium amount — which can be a hefty monthly sum even for group health coverage. And don't forget your former employer may add as much as 2 percent on top of that for administrative fees.

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Disclaimer: We are journalists, not financial planners or insurance brokers. Nothing we say should be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any insurance product, or to provide other financial or legal advice.

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