CHA News Article

Covered California Creates Limited Special Enrollment Period for Those Covered by COBRA

Covered California yesterday announced that May 15 marked the beginning of a special enrollment period for individuals with Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) health insurance to switch to an exchange plan.

Individuals with health coverage through COBRA will be eligible to buy coverage through Covered California from May 15 through July 15. The two-month window mirrors a May 2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ruling that allows COBRA enrollees to buy plans through the federal exchange until July 1.

Under COBRA, individuals who experience a job loss can purchase the coverage they had through their employer, but they are responsible for paying the full cost. In some cases, individuals and families can purchase more affordable coverage in the health benefit exchanges, particularly if they qualify for subsidies.

This newest category of special enrollment joins a host of qualifying life events under the Affordable Care Act that allow consumers access to exchange coverage during a time when open enrollment is not available. Other events include losing coverage, having a child, getting married and moving.

COBRA enrollees who wish to take advantage of the special enrollment period can apply at the Covered California website and select “Other qualifying life event” during the special enrollment application process. For more information, visit

In addition to special enrollment period opportunities for private health insurance plans, Medi-Cal enrollment for low-cost or no-cost health coverage continues year-round on the Covered California website. For more information on applying for Medi-Cal, consumers are encouraged to visit