Here is the NY State COBRA page which says that if your employer has a group plan and you weren't fired for gross misconduct, you have to be offered COBRA. There are a couple of numbers at the bottom in case you need help with your former employer:
So cities have low income "health centers" where you might be able to go to receive discounted medical care and prescriptions filled directly through the center. Don't know if they do much with the newer insulins or not. But a lot of bigger cities have some income based clinics and places to get prescriptions.
Also some of these insulin companies have programs to help with obtaining insulin. Go to the websites and see what they have to offer.
You've already got some good suggestions on insulins to switch to, but have you checked into the cost of Cobra (you should be eligible for it, however it is expensive) and also have you checked into your state's version of medical assistance? (Different states have different names for it.) You can prove you've been laid off so maybe you'd qualify.
If you pump, you can check with Insulin-Pumpers.org too.
A couple thoughts- one is that Regular insulin is available at walmart for about $25 per vial. Other thought, more in the long term, is that Eli Lilly's patent on humalog expires in 2013--- which will open the door to low cost generic humalog... whether or not any generic manufacturers actually pursue it depends on how profitable it would be to do so.
As for COBRA coverage-- in my experience at least its usually the insurance company themselves who will mail you a packet with the option to elect COBRA coverage after your employer stops paying the premium, its not something In my experience as the employee, or as a boss, that I've been directly involved in--- the insurance company handles the proccess once the premiums aren't paid by your employer (again that is what I've seen, I suppose it could vary state to state and employer to employer)
So I have been without. Here are my "survival tips" Sometimes the patient assistance programs take so long you have insurance again by the time they finally send you insulin. :( I would go to the Walmart brands as a last option. First check out local low cost or sliding scale health clinics in your area. They may have in house pharmacies that will fill your standard RX at a reduced cost or at no cost at all. If you have a St Vincents DePaul near you call them they can also help. Next for your test strips (those buggers are a fortune) go to the store brand or to true track. Also go online and order every free meter you can. They come with ten-twenty strips per meter. 10 free meters= 100-200 strips. Have friends and family with different mailing addresses do the same. I once got 30 people to order me accucheck mini's lol I got 25 strips per mini. I was test strip rich! (Please no one post in that this is "scamming" I would have died without those strips) Reduce your carb intake right now! Join the bernstien group. Learn to live on way fewer carbs for a bit to make what you do have stretch. It sucks you are going to be angry and its not super fun but it works until you have insurance again. (I eat lower carb but I cant live on 30g a day long term personally)
ALSO APPLY FOR MEDICAID! A lot of people qualify for something. Dont be to proud to apply to save your life. (I am not saying you are but I have had a history of being to proud so I am speaking from personal experince)