The first most important rule is to be eligible for Cobra, your employer must be associated with them before your unemployment begins. The Cobra Insurance Rules will apply to you if your employer uses it. You are eligible to pay what your insurance costs you minus the employer’s contribution. That makes the insurance more expensive than what you’re used to, but cheaper than it would be if you bought it as an individual.
You’re allowed to receive this coverage for a period of 18 months after your termination. If you haven’t gotten another job by then, there are other affordable options, but you’re not likely to have the same comprehensive coverage. Cobra coverage will continue to cover family members and dependents if you pay for the entire 18-month period.
You’ll have to elect to receive this coverage. It will not automatically start.