Life can change in an instant, whether it’s your health or your personal situation. Elvira of Los Angeles lost her health insurance when the auto dealership she worked for closed its doors suddenly at the end of January.  

“I did not want to be without a job and without health insurance. You never know when you might need to go to the doctor or the hospital,” she said. “Who knows? Life is very unpredictable.”

Elvira got a quote from COBRA that would let her keep the health plan she had had through work, but with her employer no longer picking up part of the cost, she would have had to pay nearly $600 a month. 

“A friend reminded me that Covered California could be cheaper,” Elvira said. “I remembered hearing on the radio there is financial help, so someone referred me to a certified agent.”

Elvira found out that she qualified for financial assistance through Covered California, and she enrolled in a plan from a name-brand company at a fraction of the cost she would have paid through COBRA. The plan provides free preventive care — along with lab tests, X-rays and imaging — and allows Elvira to see her primary care physician or specialist without first needing to meet a deductible.

The recently unemployed have many things to worry about, but having health insurance for themselves and their families shouldn’t be one of those concerns.

Even though Covered California’s annual open-enrollment period is over, if you have lost your coverage because you lost or changed your job, you may be eligible for special enrollment. You may qualify for financial assistance to help you afford coverage. 

Those who are eligible can sign up for coverage through Covered California’s special-enrollment period, as long as they do so within 60 days of a qualifying life event. The following circumstances are among the more common reasons individuals become eligible for special enrollment:

• They lose their health coverage because they have lost or changed jobs. 

• They get married or enter a domestic partnership. 

• They have a baby, adopt a child or place a child for adoption or in foster care. 

• They move and gain access to new health plans through Covered California that were not available where they previously lived. 

• They become a citizen, a U.S. national or a lawfully present individual. 

Those who qualify for Medi-Cal may enroll through Covered California year round. They can enroll online at or get information about obtaining free, confidential in-person assistance in a variety of languages.  

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