Continue to have coverage with COBRA or Cal-COBRA

You may be eligible for COBRA or Cal-COBRA if you lost your employer-sponsored coverage. Both government programs allow you to receive benefits from your current healthcare plan for a period of time. This is typically 18 or more months. You must continue to pay premiums in order to maintain your coverage.

You may be eligible for COBRA or Cal-COBRA if you:

  • Lost your job for any reason other than gross misconduct
  • Had a reduction in hours that led to a loss of benefits
  • Are transitioning between jobs
  • Lost coverage through a partner’s death
  • Are getting a divorce
  • Have another qualifying life event

You should get a notice in the mail about continuing coverage with COBRA or Cal-COBRA. If you do not, contact your former employer. If the company no longer exists or doesn’t offer healthcare coverage, COBRA or Cal-COBRA may not be an option.

Normally, you have 60 days to sign up for COBRA or Cal-COBRA without any lapse in your coverage. This begins the date you lose coverage or the date you receive the COBRA election notice, whichever is later.

However, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency has extended COBRA’s enrollment period (PDF, 162 KB). You might be eligible for COBRA if you lost your coverage on or after March 1, 2020, and may have additional time to enroll. This extension lasts one year or until 60 days after the end of the COVID-19 National Emergency, whichever comes first. This extension does not apply to Cal-COBRA.

If you took advantage of the American Rescue Plan COBRA Subsidy that expired on September 30, 2021, you may want to explore a new special enrollment period through Covered California that will give eligible COBRA recipients an opportunity to switch their coverage.

For more help, visit:

California Department of Managed Care (Cal-COBRA)
U.S. Department of Labor (COBRA)


There are alternatives to COBRA or Cal-COBRA

Contact your former employer if you are interested in COBRA or Cal-COBRA. However, less expensive coverage options may also be available. Explore other Blue Shield plans that might better suit your needs.

Explore our dental and vision plan options

Lost your employer-sponsored dental and vision coverage? We can help. Call us at (888) 910-0847. Or, email to learn more about our dental and vision* plans. Waiting periods are waived if you had previous continuous coverage for 12 months.

Explore Blue Shield plans

Find the perfect coverage for you and your family directly with Blue Shield of California.

Maintain your coverage with Blue Shield of California

Learn more about keeping your health care coverage during life events or major changes.

* Underwritten by Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company, an independent licensee of the Blue Shield Association.

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