Losing employer group health insurance? Consider these alternatives.

Most employers providing health coverage for 20 or more workers are subject to COBRA law. COBRA allows covered employees, spouses, former spouses, dependent children, and in some cases, adult children, to remain on the employer-sponsored plan for 18 months and longer in some cases. The employer must send written notice of continuation rights. You have 60 days to accept COBRA and are responsible for the entire cost (no employer contribution) plus a 2 percent administrative charge.

Illinois has a state continuation law like COBRA that affects employers of all sizes, offering group insurance plans issued in this state. Coverage generally continues for up to 12 months.

Are you married? Coverage may be available through a working spouse's group health plan. You qualify for special enrollment when you lose job-sponsored coverage but must join the plan within 30 days. After 30 days, you'll need to wait for the next open enrollment period.

An individual health insurance policy through the Illinois Healthcare Marketplace is also possible. The marketplace, ' Get Covered Illinois,' offers open enrollment each November. Individuals losing employer-sponsored health coverage can enroll midterm if they sign up within 60 days. Illinois Healthcare Marketplace provides an internet portal and in-person assistance to help people explore health plans from multiple carriers, determine if they qualify for tax subsidies, or enroll in Medicaid.

Contact a local health insurance agent to explore other options. Insurers offer a variety of individual health plans with varying deductibles, provider networks, pricing, and more.