Special Enrollment: Losing Job-Related Health Plans

Sometimes, losing your job means losing the health plan you had through work. You don't have to go without coverage. If your job changed and you lost your health plan, you might be able to get a new Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) Individual and Family plan during the Special Enrollment Period. Based on your age or income, you may be able to get Medicare or Medicaid.

Some of the life events that give you a chance to enroll in a new plan are:

  • Work hours getting lowered that leads to benefit cuts
  • Getting laid off
  • Quitting
  • COBRA coverage ending
  • State Continuation coverage ending

Getting a New Health Plan

Each type of health plan has dates, deadlines and information for you to review.

  • I'm under 65 and lost health care coverage through my job.

    If you’re under age 65, you may be able to enroll in an Individual and Family health plan. Our plans have three levels of coverage, also known as metallic levels. They all offer the same essential health benefits but have a range of monthly payments, deductibles and copays.

    Learn about your Individual and Family options


    You'll have 60 days, counting weekends and holidays, from the date you lost coverage to enroll in an Individual and family plan. If you know your job will be changing, you can buy a health plan up to 60 days before losing coverage.

    Because you've lost your health insurance coverage, you'll need to send in required documents showing your life event date. This could be a company letter or other job records.

    Financial Help

    Depending on your income, you might be able to get a premium tax credit, or subsidy. Premium tax credits help you pay less each month for your plan. 

  • I'm over 65 and want to enroll in Medicare.

    Medicare is first offered when you're about to turn 65. It's made up of four parts: Part A, which you get when you sign up for Social Security. Then, you can then buy more coverage to build on to your Part A benefits.

    If you're about to turn 65 (three months or less from your 65th birthday) and just lost your job, you can enroll in Medicare Part A. If you'd like, you can also choose to buy more coverage. If you're older than 65 and just lost your job, you're still able to enroll in Medicare but have different deadlines.

    Learn how Medicare works


    • If you're about to turn 65 or are newly 65: You can enroll in Medicare as soon as your 65th birthday is three months away. After you turn 65, you'll have three more months to enroll in Medicare and choose your coverage. This means you'll have seven full months to enroll.
    • If you're 65+ and have passed the Initial Enrollment Period: Maybe you've already passed the Initial Enrollment Period when you turn 65 - that's okay. You have 8 months after you lose your job-based insurance or stop working to enroll in Medicare.

    Financial Help

    When you're going through the enrollment process, you'll learn if you can qualify for lower prescription costs.


  • I lost health care coverage through my job and may qualify for Medicaid.

    You might be eligible for Medicaid, the Medicaid-Medicare dual plan, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or other assistance.

    Learn more about your eligibility requirements

    BCBSIL has 2 options that may be right for you:

    Blue Cross Community Health PlansSM

    Blue Cross Community MMAI (Medicare-Medicaid Plan)SM


    If you qualify for Medicaid, you can apply at any time. 

    How to Enroll

    You can enroll in a new Medicaid plan online or call 1-877-912-8880 to speak with our Illinois Enrollment Services team.



Last Updated: July 07, 2023