I agree with most of what was already said here. The ACA plan will be much cheaper if your income level allows for the subsidies. Many local hospitals are directly affiliated with the large hospitals on the northern east coast in Boston, NYC and Baltimore. I am not certain where you live though.
Excellent advice for immediately contacting your kids' financial aid offices before financial aid letters are sent out; and maybe adjusting a semester or two closer to home in a Community College, if they are still in their first or second year. They can save money this way.
Another overlooked benefit in State schools is that National Guard service covers 100% tuition and fees, while providing a skill / trade along with a good monthly income and summer employment. Most careers are represented in the NG and may help the kids to be proactive in their own care. Sometimes kids can get cheaper healthcare coverage through their schools too. It is worth the look, especially if you are buying COBRA coverage.
Above, it was also mentioned about Social Security Disability. You can find it by Googling "Social Security Compassionate Care." I think it is listed under "GI cancers" as being covered. It takes a stage IV diagnosis, and some time to get to Medicare coverage, but worth the review if you are qualified. Know the rules and apply if appropriate. Each State also has Medicaid programs that are income tested and are worth a review. A combination of these things may be a better decision than just a family COBRA policy.
This is a life changing event for the entire family, but one where safety nets are in place if you are proactive and seek them out. Keep a notebook of contacts and deadlines along with your medical records documenting the proper diagnosis and dates for job loss. You will use these dates on many forms and you want them to be consistent. Do not pay full price for anything and always question billing and potential discounts based on your change of income. They will not know these things unless you tell them. Lastly, most hospitals have oncology nurses who are patient advocates. Seek them out for help and direction. Keep good records, so that you can provide documentation and support to your claims.
Good luck in your process moving forward. There are may here who can keep you on track when questions arise.
D/H 47 years old, 10/2014, Stage IV M/CRC, nodes 12/15, para-aortic, 5 cm sigmoid resection, positive Virchow. KRAS mut, MSS, Highly Differentiated, Lynch Neg, 5FU/LV and Avastin 1 YR (Oxi for 5 months), Zeloda/Bev since 01/2016. 02/2019 recurrence para-nodes, back to 5FU/LV Oxy/Bev. It is working again. "...Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other."-Walter Elliot