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Can I still buy COBRA health insurance if I move out of state?

Yes, you may continue to buy health insurance under COBRA, but if health plan requires you to use a certain network of doctors, you'll be stuck with the old network. Remember, when you "buy COBRA" you are continuing to buy the same health plan that your former employer offers.

Under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), you have the right to continue coverage under your employer's group health plan for up to 18 months after you resign, have been laid off or terminated - as long as it wasn't for "gross misconduct." To be eligible for COBRA, you must be covered under your employer's health plan at the time you leave your job.

  • Your COBRA coverage will end when one of the following occurs:
  • You reach the last day of the 18-month coverage period
  • You fail to pay the premiums
  • Your former employer stops maintaining the group health plan or goes out of business
  • You obtain coverage through another employer group plan that does not exclude or limit coverage for pre-existing conditions
  • You become eligible for Medicare.

Coverage under the plan would continue if you moved out of state, but you may be better off buying individual health insurance if you can't take advantage of the plan's network of providers. If you decide to buy individual coverage, shop around for affordable health insurance.

For more, see know your COBRA rights and tips for buying individual health insurance.

Last updated: Nov. 18, 2010
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