insure logo

Why you can trust

quality icon

Quality Verified

At, we are committed to providing the timely, accurate and expert information consumers need to make smart insurance decisions. All our content is written and reviewed by industry professionals and insurance experts. Our team carefully vets our rate data to ensure we only provide reliable and up-to-date insurance pricing. We follow the highest editorial standards. Our content is based solely on objective research and data gathering. We maintain strict editorial independence to ensure unbiased coverage of the insurance industry.

COBRA can be used to maintain your health insurance coverage when your employment ends. Additionally, you can keep your COBRA  health insurance if you move out of the state where your job was. However, you might be out of luck if your former employee’s health plan does not have any doctors in your new state. 

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.

COBRA allows you and your dependents to keep the health coverage (including dental and vision) you had as an employee benefit even when your job ends. However, COBRA is very expensive because your employer won’t be paying towards your coverage.

You can also get COBRA coverage if you experience several life events, like legal separation or a child becoming too old to be considered a dependent. 

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, make sure shop around to find the most affordable health insurance.

Can you keep your COBRA health insurance if you move out of state?

Your COBRA health coverage can follow you to a new state. However, your COBRA coverage will be the exact same coverage you had through your previous employer. if your old health plan required you to use a certain network of doctors, you are stuck with that old network. If that network doesn’t have any options in the state where you’re moving to, you won’t have any in-network doctors to see. 

Remember, when you “buy COBRA” you are continuing to buy the same health plan that your former employer offers.

Do you have to change health insurance if you move out of state?

If your health plan uses a network of doctors that are restricted to a certain area, such as the state where your former employer is headquartered, you might not have any options in your new state. You shouldn’t assume your policy is nationwide, but you should make sure that your health coverage will function (i.e., there are doctors who accept it) in your new state. 

When should you change your health insurance after moving?

You might have to change your health insurance after moving if there aren’t any local doctors who accept your healthcare plan – this is true whether you have COBRA coverage or not. COBRA coverage is a continuation of the health plan you had while employed, and that health plan’s network might be restricted to one area. You might need to find another healthcare option if you find that your old network doesn’t have any options by your new home. You might have insurance that has options throughout the country, but you shouldn’t assume this is the case. 

Learn more about COBRA

For more,  learn about your COBRA rights and when you’re ready to move to a new plan, learn tips for buying individual health insurance

If you’re unsure of how much health insurance you need, use’s Health Insurance Advisor tool. Also, you can read customer reviews from 3,700 survey participants to find out who the Best Health Insurance Companies are when shopping for new coverage.

author image
Barry Eitel
Contributing Researcher


Barry Eitel is a content writer and journalist focused on insurance, small business and finance. He has researched and written about personal finance since 2012, with a special focus on entrepreneurship, freelancing and other small business operations. His writing on insurance and small business has been featured in 7x7, Brit + Co, Intuit Quickbooks, Bankrate, Policygenius and Lendio.